Portrait of Jacobus Blauw

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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The Dutch patriot, Jacobus Blauw (1756–1829), played an important role in the foundation of the Batavian Republic in 1795. Although short-lived, it significantly contributed to the transformation of the Netherlands from a confederated structure into a democratic unitary state.

Blauw and the artist, Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), shared the political ideals of the French Revolution that were sweeping across Europe in the 1790s, and the bond between the two men is evident in the relaxed intimacy of this portrait. David depicts the diplomat Blauw as he pauses while writing, his clothes and possessions painted in meticulous detail.

There are only two paintings by David in Britain – this, and the National Gallery’s Portrait of Comtesse Vilain XIIII and her Daughter.

The National Gallery, London



Portrait of Jacobus Blauw




Oil on canvas


H 92 x W 73 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1984

Work type



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