1795. Oil on canvas. 92 x 73 cm. National Gallery, London, UK. Read Note.
Jacobus Blauw (1756-1829) and Gaspar Mayer were representatives of the new revolutionary government of the Dutch Republic, called the Batavian Republic. They were to negotiate peace after the French invasion of the Netherlands.
Blauw highly appreciated his portrait by David, he wrote, “My wishes are at last satisfied, my dear David. You have brought me to life again on the canvas; you have, in a way, immortalized me with your sublime brush”. It was also a political act, by commissioning a portrait from the disgraced artist Blauw evidently wanted to show his support to the more radical revolutionary politics associated with David.
“Mayer, on the other hand, probably doubted the political wisdom of having his portrait painted by David and found the whole episode highly embarrassing, and never bothered to collect it from David's studio, where it remained until the artist's death.”
See: Jacques-Louis David. Portrait of Jacobus Blauw. Portrait of Gaspar Mayer.
David. by Simon Lee. Phaidon. 1999