Tim Marlow TV - Kenneth Clark TV - Wendy Beckett TV - Laura Cumming TV - Simon Schama TV - Jacques Louis David - Matthew Collings TV -
David was a revolutionary artist in every sense. His work spoke the classical language of ancient Greece and Rome. Austere, self-controlled, heroic. But he brought European painting away from the sentimental fantasy of the Rococo, and gave it a harder edge. He was also a fully committed supporter of the French Revolution and Napoleon, using his art as a powerful instrument of political propaganda. Great Artists With Tim Marlow s1e20: David, Sky Arts 2003
David’s influence on European painting was immense. ibid.
The most gifted painter of his day: David. Kenneth Clark, Civilisation 10/13: The Smile of Reason, BBC 1969
They swore an oath to establish a constitution. David, the painter of Republican virtue, was commissioned to record the scene. Kenneth Clark, Civilisation 12/13: The Fallacies of Hope
In the winter of 1800, Napoleon marched his army through these mountains. Jacques-Louis David: Crossing the Alps … His dramatic and inspirational portrait was designed to put Napoleon up there with the greatest generals of all time. Sister Wendy Beckett, BBC
David: brought low by his own revolution. Laura Cumming, Ego: The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits, BBC 2013
It was David who would give people the vision of what a true citizen was. Simon Schama’s Power of Art: David, BBC 2006
All his [David] life he was only really looking for virtue. ibid.
David’s Rome rebuilt as the New France. ibid.
His depiction of the Tennis Court Oath: it’s a picture filled with noise, the roar of the oath, the crash of a great electrical storm. The Revolution as an unstoppable force of Nature. And at the centre of it all an enormous space ... filled with light, the rushing wind ... It’s an idea. An idea so big it dwarfs the humans who enact it. ibid.
There was no going back. From now on David and his art belonged to the Revolution. ibid.
It’s an apparition ... Look upon him, David is saying, and you will see the highest type of humanity ... The white sheets seem shroud-like ... It’s a cult image. And it tells you to believe ... A story for the people. ibid.
So why do I like David? Well I don’t. He is a monster. But he makes ideas blaze in dry ice. ibid.
This is Art designed to make those who saw it virtuous citizens. And it’s all so perfect, so tragic, so poetic, you almost believe it. ibid.
When his wife disapproved of his zeal he divorced her. ibid.
The terror had begun. And David had become part of the great engine of killing. ibid.
David’s downfall was inextricably linked to the fate of Robespierre. ibid.
In the arts the way in which an idea is rendered, and the manner in which it is expressed, is much more important than the idea itself. Jacques Louis David
David and Goya depict the new startling world of human emotion … Their art is our witness. Matthew Collings, This is Civilisation II, BBC 2007
See David’s mind whirring: Renaissance opened a door for him to appreciate the art of the ancient past. This noble way of life he thinks is an attack on the corruption of life now … David takes Renaissance space and makes it menacing. ibid.