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Representative of the French People on Duty

Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

After the National Convention proclaimed France a republic in 1792, there was a strong impetus to reimagine many aspects of daily life to reflect new egalitarian principles. Clothing, which had been a key means to distinguish social class and privilege before the revolution, was one area targeted for change.

In 1794 David produced a group of designs for civil, military, and judicial uniforms, a project reflecting his political clout during these years, as well as his training as a history painter. The designs are eclectic in influence, with nods to the styles of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. They are also exceptionally vibrant and confident in their execution—indicative, presumably, of the artist’s enthusiasm.

Representative of the French People on Duty, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Pen and brown ink, watercolor; toque drawn on a separate piece of paper, cut out and affixed to the sheet

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