Superb A.L.S. to his sitter, Cardinal Caprara

Jacques-Louis David

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Autograph letter signed, in French, 'David', one page, October 21st, 1806. In full: While I was finishing the head of your Eminence, my imagination was entirely concentrated on my painting, and I forgot to ask you that when you send me the order [monastic honor] that you had the kindness to promise, to also send your robe and cardinals ermine so that I can place the orders necklace on it and see the windings the ribbon makes on the ermine. I will only keep everything for a short time, and will then send them right back to you. Im happy if the head that I have painted of your Eminence can bring the same pleasure to the public that it gave me in painting it. May I offer the gratitude of my paint brush for the welcome that your Serene Highness was kind enough to offer my son in Rome. If such hospitality may continue for him, my happiness would be complete. He is still presently in Rome, staying with our Ambassador. Written while hard at work on his monumental The Coronation of Napoleon (a project that lasted from 1804 to 1807). this letter appears to refer to Davids portrait of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Caprara. Cardinal Caprara appears in the massive work standing at the side of Pope Pius VII, whose hand is raised in blessing; the cardinal is indeed seen wearing an ermine and an order on a chain. David also accomplished a matching, standalone portrait of the pope and cardinal in the same poses during the same period. In 1806, David dedicated much of his time to filling in the costumes of the many subjects in The Coronation of Napoleon, and he requested each of them to sit with him for an additional two hours. It is probable that when David met with Cardinal Caprara he focused on the details of his face, and then made this request for his clothes and accessories to be modelled later. A highly desirable example from artist to sitter. In very fine condition. Bookseller Inventory # 000115

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Title: Superb A.L.S. to his sitter, Cardinal ...
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