Lee charts the rise of David from relative mediocrity as a highly academic painter to his enthusiastic support for the Revolution of 1789, culminating in his remarkable painting Marat Breathing His Last (1793). Arrested and narrowly avoiding execution in the political backlash following the overthrow of Robespierre, David turned his back on politics to concentrate on his art, only to find himself catapulted back into the political limelight with his fervent embrace of Napoleon Bonaparte. This loyalty formed the foundation of some of David's most imposing paintings, from the equestrian portraits of Napoleon to the pomp of The Coronation of the Emperor and Empress. But once again, David's political hopes were dashed with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, which led the painter into self-imposed exile in Brussels, where he died a decade later.
Despite Lee's rather wooden prose, this is a thorough, detailed, and generously illustrated study of a fascinatingly contradictory, patrician, but technically brilliant painter. --Jerry Brotton
This is the perfect book for anyone interested in the work of David. His career is described is step by step detail with quality reproductions of his paintings to accompany the... Read morePublished on September 17, 2009 by Warren Hull
I just finished reading this book and it is great. The words flow as well as the the color pictures. Every painting Mr. Lee writes about is also presented. Read morePublished on April 4, 2008 by Peter D. Bellone