Monsieur Seriziat

7:00 AM

Jaques Louis David, Portrait of Monsieur Seriziat,1795

If you have ever been to a wax museum you can't help but feel watched. Now of course you know that none of these figures are alive, but they have an aura and a certain presence. David is a master at making the viewer feel him through each and every one of his strokes, gently tugging for the viewer's involvement. Expert propagandist and patron of the noblemen and gentry, David knew his place, making it very clear as he painted prominent figures of society leeching off the government for protection. Serving on the Committee for Public Safety, David sanctioned the death of hundreds, and was later imprisoned for his involvement with and support of Robespierre. While waiting out his sentence, David managed to acquire some basic materials and did what he did best: paint.

Shortly after his release in 1795 he left for the countryside where he spent his time with his sister-in-law Madame Seriziat. After meeting her husband, David painted his portrait of Monsieur Seriziat. Seated rigidly in his riding attire, he clearly resembles the nobility. David, knowing that the upper echelon of society welcomed him, reminded them all of what he was capable of. The master artist was back to manipulative tactics, seducing the less fortunate with images of what their lives could be after the revolution. I can't help but escape the eyes of Monsieur Seriziat, it both attracts me and reminds me that I can never be close to him. This capturing of such great feeling and motion is what makes David an incredible artist and a painter.

David’s return to the realm of French revolutionary politics could not have been achieved without these subtle works. Monsieur Seriziat represents a stage in society as the nobility must kneel to the rise of the classes below. David, as a master of propaganda, managed to survive as each succeeding conqueror stepped in and with each a new persona - ever the social chameleon.

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