Jacques-Louis David’s historical pieces are mainly political pamphlets, his mythological paintings are often outright ridiculous, but he was a fitting court painter for Napoleon, and a good portraitist, though he never tries to hide the fact that his models are posing for him.

Among his portraits, I like this one best. It shows Henriette Verniac, daughter of Charles-François Delacroix, who had been a secretary to Turgot, a deputy to the National Convention, and a Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was also the official, though most likely not the real father of Eugène Delacroix, who was born about a year before this portrait was painted.

Henriette Verniac’s portrait is a good example of the gallo-grecque fashion of the Directoire and Consulat.

One thought on “Portrait of Henriette Verniac by Jacques-Louis David (1799)

  1. The passion for neo-Hellenic simplicity in fashion always seemed lyrical to me in spite of the enormities the French armies were inflicting in Europe. David was a good painter, and this is a wonderful portrait. Henriette Verniac still lives – as lovely and full of bougeoisie charm as she was in 1799.

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