I will outrightly state this is not a narcissistic blog about my facebook profile pictures, so don't worry... I haven't lost it. It's actually a blog about the primarily French Painting movement of the 19th Century, Neoclassism. See! Isn't that LOADS more interesting? I bet you can't wait!
To tie these two ideas together, on occasion I'll post this picture:
Why? Why in the world would a young married woman post a picture of a 200 year old drawing, self portrait of this old (admittedly "sexy") guy? Well trust me, it's not just because he's sexy... it's because of what he represents.
This is a portrait of the French Painter and Revolutionist, Jacques Louis David (August 30, 1748 - December 29, 1825).
To me, he's the fucking shit of artists. He manipulated art as a tool of higher propaganda, using it as a real means and a fuel source that helped to incite an entire revolution. He founded one of the most famous art schools in history, ate sandwiches on his paintings, got in sword fights, terrified his "peers" (what the hell, he had no peers!), hung out with Napoleon, Poodle-Hair Voltaire, threw a massive death parade, drew the miserable Marie Antoinette (one of my favorite illustrations ever) just before she was beheaded, and then ironically became a door-to-door guillotine salesmen.
(I love this image because you can really feel his apathy and simultaneous disgust for this woman in the intentional, slack line-work.)
What I also appreciate about this man is that after Napoleon was exiled for the final time, he retreated out of the political scene (of which he was also heavily involved) to paint mythological antiquities, with his own personality.
In this depiction of Cupid and Psyche (my all-time favorite work of his) I just freakin' love the sense of humor he has in Cupid's overt attempt to be covert. I've looked at a vast amount of his works and what I find curious about this is the consistency in which he portrays character. As an artist who claimed to be a study of human character before all else, felt that to capture the expression correctly is to capture the person to a much purer degree than to just simply copy their features in as non-objective of a manner as one can. This character's expression is only consistent with one portrayal of the same person, himself...Judging that he spent the last of his life in Brussels, it leaves me imaging this is a humorous self-reflection of his youth.
Speaking of which...
This guy does not crack! He's younger here, but he's still 41. Unfortunately, David seems to be a soul stealer as the same can not be said for his most famous, and talented pupil Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres:
I mean, I kind of feel bad for the guy:
This portrait is by David of Ingres not long after he initially joined David's studio...
Look at him, youthful, aspiring. He has so much life to his eyes... and then...
Oh my... Poor guy. Looks like "the war" got the best of you. I will say though he maintained most of his dignity and was a very outstanding artist. He was the initial artist that caught my attention to take a particular interest in Neoclassism purely for his technical ability alone:
This use to be my favorite painting in the whole wide world until I realized how honestly dull and non-dynamic I find his use of color to be and, he tends to repeat himself:
However, the main lesson that is to be learned here today... is that David was the Father of Neoclassism, without whom it's relatively safe to say, dramatically changed the course of Western art history forever, and undeniably just history itself... but what is art anyway? Even more important than that, if you're going to be the "Daddy" of a movement in a time when it smells like Rococo (how rancid) all over again, you need to make sure you have swag. Do you have swag?
-Space Ichijouji <3