Museum Home Past Exhibitions Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile

February 1–April 24, 2005 at the Getty Center

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Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile examines the last 25 years of the turbulent career of Jacques-Louis David, the dominant figure in late 18th- and early 19th-century European art.

David did not consider himself primarily a political artist, but he created some of the most powerful propaganda in history, first for the French Revolution and then for Napoleon. He also painted insightful, unsparing portraits of friends, family, and the élites of Paris and Brussels.

David's political entanglements made him a controversial public figure. After Napoleon's defeat in 1815 David went into exile in Brussels, where he embarked on new artistic projects—interpretations of Greek myths, studies of facial expression, and portraits of fellow exiles. He continued to reinvent himself and his art up to his death in 1825.

Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile has been organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Related Exhibitions

Drawn to Rome: Neoclassical French Sketchbooks examines 18th-century French drawings and prints of Rome by David and other artists of his generation.

A Revolutionary Age: Drawing in Europe, 1770–1820 surveys European drawings by David and other European and American artists in the era of Enlightenment and Revolution.


For Teachers

Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment: A Curriculum for Middle School and High School Teachers