Portrait of Jacobus Blauw

This portrait is signed and dated in the year 4 of the French Revolutionary calendar (1795) and inscribed on the sheet of paper with the name and position of the sitter - Minister Plenipotentiary in Paris of the Dutch Republic. Blauw (1756 - 1829) had helped to establish the Batavian Republic in Holland in 1795 and had been sent to Paris to negotiate peace after the French invasion of the Netherlands. The portrait probably commemorates the successful outcome of this mission.

David's image of Blauw is notable for conveying the impression of a bond of sympathy between artist and sitter, resulting in a portrait of directness and sincerity. The rewards of earnest labour in the public service are suggested by the emphasis on the serious expression and on the right hand holding the quill. The figure of the sitter, clad in blue against a grey background, emerges from a subtle harmony of colours at the base of the painting, with the red of the chair to the left complemented by the pink cloth and the bright blue-green material covering the table.

Key facts

Artist dates
1748 - 1825
Full title
Portrait of Jacobus Blauw
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
92 x 73 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1984
Inventory number
Location in Gallery