Portrait of Émilie Sériziat and her Son Jacques Louis David Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This simple portrait from Jacques Louis David is dated at 1795, at which point the artist would have been approaching his fifties. The painting can be found in the permanent collection of the Louvre in Paris, France.

This charming portrait captures a mother with one of her sons. The artist aims to capture both figures in the best light possible and communicate the close bond between them. The woman is dressed almost entirely in white, suggesting a purity of character. She sports a pretty dark green bow around her waist and holds a small bouquet of flowers. It feels feminine and classical a portrait, and entirely complementary. Most worthy of note would be the elegant hat which matches her bow in colours and formality. She perches on a small pink seat, whilst her child looks on at the viewer from an angle. The son has red hair and matches his mother in white clothing that covers all of his body. They both hold contented, but understated smiles which again suggested class and also being relatively comfortable in sitting for the artist.

Emilie and Pierre Sériziat were actually the artist's wife's sister and her husband. He visited them after a period of ill health in Saint Ouen, which is around 20 miles from Paris. The break would do him good and he decided to produce these two paintings in order to express his gratitude for the time spent there, as well as the cherished friendship that they shared. The portraits were unveiled at the 1795 Salon, underlining how the artist was still entirely relevant despite his health problems and the political uncertainties that were directly impacting his life.

At the time of writing, Portrait of Emilie Seriziat and her Son could be found in Room 75 of the Louvre in Paris. There is a clear emphasis on the Neo-classical period within the part of the museum, and you will also find other masterpieces there such as Grande Odalisque by Ingres, and Christine Boyer by Antoine-Jean Gros. Other David paintings featured here include The Intervention of the Sabine Women and The Coronation of Napoleon, thus offering some of the greatest ever creations by this artist. Elsewhere in the building, one can be lost in the extraordinary collection of this museum, which is both varied and comprehensive. Indeed, many famous artists from past centuries have actually visited and studied here, adding new generations to the ever increasing list of significant European artists, with a particular focus on French art.