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Jacques-Louis David, Portrait of Jacobus Blauw

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Jacobus Blauw
Artist Jacques-Louis David
Artist dates 1748 - 1825
Date made 1795
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 92 × 73 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1984
Inventory number NG6495
Location Room 33
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Jacobus Blauw
Jacques-Louis David

The Dutch patriot, Jacobus Blauw (1756–1829), played an important role in the foundation of the Batavian Republic in 1795. Although short-lived, it significantly contributed to the transformation of the Netherlands from a confederated structure into a democratic unitary state.

Blauw and the artist, Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), shared the political ideals of the French Revolution that were sweeping across Europe in the 1790s, and the bond between the two men is evident in the relaxed intimacy of this portrait. David depicts the diplomat Blauw as he pauses while writing, his clothes and possessions painted in meticulous detail.

There are only two paintings by David in Britain – this, and the National Gallery’s Portrait of Comtesse Vilain XIIII and her Daughter.

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