David d'Angers

Portrait, by Deveria

1788 March 12 Born at Angers
1793 Follows his father as a volunteer in the Republican army, against Vendeens
1800-1804 Apprenticeship with his father, carpenter and ebeniste
1807 Goes to Paris (atelier Roland after 1809). 2e prix in 1810 for Othryades
1811 1e Prix de Rome for Epaminondas, a bas-relief
1811-1815 in Rome at the Villa Medicis. Romance with Cecilia Odescalchi (d. 1814)
1816 Travel to London where he meets Flaxman (who confuses him with the painter David) Refuses a commission commemorating Waterloo. Receives commission for Condé, for the Pont Louis XVI in Paris
1825 Triumphal inauguration of Bonchamps at Saint-Florent-le-Vieil. This work is discussed in the Insurrection of the Vendée
1826 Named professor at l'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris
1830 Commission for the pediment (fronton) of the Pantheon. Completes the colossal medallion of Rouget de l'Isle
1831 Marriage to Emilie Maillocheau, grand-daughter of Larevellière-Lépaux
1834 Second trip to Germany. Defeat in elections in Anjou
1837 Defeat in elections in Anjou
1839 Opening of the galérie David at the Museum of Angers
1840 Unveiling of Gutenberg in Strasburg
1843 Commission from Comte de Quatrebarbes of a statue of Roi René for Angers (to be erected in 1853)
1847 Refusal to sculpt the tomb of Napoleon in Invalides
1848 Participation in the Campagne des Banquets, February Revolution
In March, refuses the post of Directeur des musées. Becomes maire of 11e arrondissement in Paris. Is elected député from Anjou to the Constituante. Writes to Victor Pavie " Depuis la Révolution, je n'ai pas remis le pied dans mon atelier. Avant d'être artiste, il faut être citoyen. Voilà ma devise."
1849 Not re-elected from Anjou. His last entry in the Salon is a bust of Saint-Just
1851 After the coup d'Etat of Louis-Napoleon, is arrested and is exiled to Brussels, then Greece, accompanied by his daughter Hélène.
1853 Returns to France where he works in Nice on the statue of général Drouot
1855 Last visit to Angers
1856 January 6 Death in Paris.

David d'Angers studied art in Paris and Rome, and absorbed the lessons of antiquity. His early work, especially, renders Greek classical history in a neo-classical style that some describe as cold and distant. However, the sculptor's larger aim was

...always to highlight the noble side and moral truth of the subject matter.... I have marble and bronze to render genius, virtue, and heroic courage.
He became known for his portraits of great men and women, many of whom he met in the political and artistic circles of Paris and Europe. His goal of immortalizing history led him sometimes to depict his subjects in realistic and contemporary dress. His desire to express majestic and powerful ideas led him to dramatic compositions that brings his style closer to a romantic sensibility. In the course of his astonishingly prolific career, he produced over 50 full-size statues, 150 busts, and over 500 portrait medallions of the era's major literary, political, and artistic figures.

Major works
Pediment of the Pantheon, 1830-37
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King René of Anjou
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Websites of Interest

Works of David d'Angers can be found online:
Bust of Rossini and Medallion of Pigault Lebrun at the Cleveland Museum
Bust of Mary Robinson at the Getty Museum
Philopoemen, at the Louvre
Thomas Jefferson and other works at the Washington National Gallery
Mort d'Epaminondas , and the Bust of Goethe in the Joconde Database of French Museum Collections
Seven portrait medallions at the British National Portrait Gallery
A plaster of Bonchamps is found in the Rouen Musée des Beaux-Arts.

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Last update: July 5, 2003
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