Graphite on paper
D. 7cm (with frame)
Signed "L.David" on the right
PORTRAIT OF A MAN IN A HAT, SEEN IN PROFILE
Drawn portraits are rare in David’s work (here we are talking of completed drawings intended for framing, not preparatory studies for large historical compositions like Le Sacre or La Remise des aigles), and most of them date from 1795, when the artist was imprisoned at the Quatre-Nations. At this time, in June and July, he drew portraits of the Montagne party members imprisoned with him (we currently know of nine portraits: see Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat, Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825, catalogue raisonné des dessins, Milan, Leonardo Arte, 2002, nos. 147-155). They are all bust-length profiles, set in a medallion with a diameter of around 18 cm, and all in grey wash, apart from no. 147, which is in pen and black ink. A comparison of the hats and clothing in some of these portraits, and in this medallion, enables us to suggest a similar date, which is also that of a portrait painted by David the same year of a relation of his, Monsieur Seriziat (Paris, Louvre, RF 1281). We have been unable to identify the model here; the intimate character of the work indicates that he was a member of the artist’s family.