Juliette Récamier, the wife of a Parisian banker, was one of the most famous socialites of her time. This portrait, showing her dressed in the "antique style" and surrounded by Pompeian furniture in an otherwise bare picture space, was extremely avant-garde for 1800. Exactly why it was never finished is unclear, but its state enables one to study David's technique before his vibrant preliminary brushwork and background rubbings were "glazed over" with translucent colors.
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