The Met discovers underlying composition of painting by Jacques-Louis David

The Met discovers underlying composition of painting by Jacques-Louis David

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today extraordinary new insights into Jacques-Louis David’s 1788 portrait of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier and Marie-Anne Lavoisier—a landmark of European painting and a cornerstone of The Met collection—following nearly three years of in-depth analysis. The discovery of the painting’s underlying composition shows that David initially emphasized the couple’s privileged role as rich tax collectors and fashionable consumers of luxury, rather than as progressive scientists. In the painting’s first iteration, for example, the later-prominent scientific instruments were entirely absent. These changes reveal the couple’s shifting public face on the brink of the French Revolution and David’s ingenuity in formulating a new kind of portrait. “The revelations about Jacques-Louis David’s painting completely transform
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today extraordinary new insights into Jacques-Louis David’s 1788 portrait of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier and Marie-Anne Lavoisier—a landmark of European painting and a cornerstone of The Met collection—following nearly three years of in-depth analysis. The discovery of the painting’s underlying composition shows that David initially emphasized the couple’s privileged role as rich tax collectors and fashionable consumers of luxury, rather than as progressive scientists. In the painting’s first iteration, for example, the later-prominent scientific instruments were entirely absent. These changes reveal the couple’s shifting public face on the brink of the French Revolution and David’s ingenuity in formulating a new kind of portrait. “The revelations about Jacques-Louis David’s painting completely transform