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Thursday 28 July 2016

Etching by Jacques-Louis David’s son, Charles-Louis Jules David, “Bélisaire et l'Enfant”

Charles-Louis Jules David (1783-1854)
“Bélisaire et l'Enfant”, 1882, after a painting of the same name executed in 1780 by his father, Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825).
Etching on chine-collé washi paper on cream wove paper
Size: (sheet) 27.2 x 36 cm; (plate) 8.1 x 11 cm; (image) 7.1 x 9 cm
Lettered on the plate below the image: (left) “L. David. prinx.”; (centre) “1780”; (right) “J. David. sc.”
Condition: a well-printed, crisp and richly inked impression with wide margins. The sheet has few faint traces of foxing towards the far edges of the margins, otherwise the sheet is in very good condition.

I am selling this delicately executed print for the total cost of AU$60 (currently US$44.81/EUR40.76/GBP34.21 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this masterly translation of Jacques-Louis David’s painting into etched line, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

The reason that I originally purchased this small etching was not because the printmaker was the son of the great Neo-Classical painter, Jacques-Louis David, but rather because I admired the graphic translation of the painting, “Bélisaire et l'Enfant” (1780), into line.

Many reproductive printmakers of the nineteenth century had the skill to duplicate the broad tonal effects of a painting into a network of crosshatched lines, but this print is special in that there is great subtlety in portraying light and shade. For instance, compare the variations of tone ranging from the bright light illuminating Bélisaire’s forehead to the softer lights illuminating the figures’ hands. In this variation of tone, each hand is rendered with a slightly different tonal key and within this tonal key (i.e. a very limited range of tones) the artist is still able to portray fine details and tonal gradations. Such mastery is uncommon, especially in a small image.

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