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The Self-portrait is a self-portrait painted by the artist Jacques-Louis David in 1794 whilst in prison at the hôtel des fermes for having supported the robespierristes. It was his third and last self-portrait - the second was the 1791 Aux trois collets (Uffizi, Florence). He gave it to his former student Jean-Baptiste Isabey and it then entered the collections of the Louvre in 1852 (inv. 3705).


The painting represents the artist facing himself, the bust in three-quarters, on a yellow-gray background. He is dressed in a dark overcoat with wide chestnut lapels and a white shirt, tied with a scarf of the same color. In his left hand he holds a brush, in the right a palette. He is seated on an armchair, the back of which can be seen. The figure is illuminated from the right. Because the portrait was painted from a mirror image, the positions of the hands are reversed; David does not correct this detail, which shows him holding the paintbrush in his left hand, although he is right-handed; similarly, the tumor that affects his left cheek is found on the right but is hidden in shadow.

David represented himself as a young man, which he is no longer since he was 46 when he painted this painting.[1]


  1. ^ Brassart, Laurent (2010-09-01). "Michel Biard, Philippe Bourdin, Silvia Marzagalli, Révolution, Consulat, Empire, 1789-1815". Annales historiques de la Révolution française (361): 192–195. doi:10.4000/ahrf.11729. ISSN 0003-4436.