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Artist David chose to produce two related portraits, one of François Buron, and one of his wife. They both display his incredible technical ability to handle clothing and facial features with an uncanny precision.
Madame François Buron peers at the viewer, with a hand across her forehead. A bright light shines from the left hand side, just off of the canvas and this disrupts her reading. Several journals are found in her possession here, and she leans upon a small wooden table. Behind her is a small chair with a decorative frame and the wall behind is plain and dark. Her clothing is embellished with beautiful details, including bows on each arm and a striped pattern of orange and green. Her small hat is perfectly matching and her hair below that is of the style common for the time. She has touches of makeup on either cheek, as was the way then, but is not overly madeup. Their is also a small black ribbon around her neck. Jacques Louis David was an artist respected for the accuracy of his portraits, and details such as the wooden effect on the table found here help to remind us why.
As explained in the written passage below, the lady depicted here had been entirely supportive of David at an important time in his life and he desired to repay this faith via this portrait. She appears modest but welcoming, suggesting a level of trust and comfort between the two. David himself would also go onto produce a portrait of her husband, François Buron. The artist would display this level of appreciation several times in his career through the use of portraiture, though many other of his paintings in this genre were completed entirely for financial gain, with little connection socially to the model at the time.
"...Following his father’s death in 1757, David was raised in the house of his uncle, the architect François Buron. Madame Buron was particularly supportive of David's desire to become a painter, in opposition to her husband's wish that he study architecture. In this early intimate portrait, David presented his aunt looking up momentarily from her reading to acknowledge the viewer with a warm reserve..."
The painting is owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, an institution with a growing reputation for its impressive art collection. The painting itself is dated at 1769, which is written into the signature above the sitter's shoulder, and has also been confirmed as correct from other sources. They also have Madame de Pastoret and her Son from David within their collection, as well as a good broader range of French art more generally. Despite the impressive rise in American art over the past century or so, there is still a huge interest within the country for European art, particularly as it was so influential on so much that followed on afterwards. They also possess a number of pieces from David's one time tutor, Rococo painter, Francois Boucher (Are They Thinking about the Grape?).