David later became an active supporter of the French Revolution and friend of Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794), and was effectively a dictator of the arts under the French Republic. After Robespierre's loss of power, he was imprisoned and, upon his release, joined another political regime: that of Napoleon, First Consul of France. During this time, he developed his Empire style, characterized by the use of warm Venetian colors. After the fall of Napoleon and the resurgence of the Bourbons, David went into exile in Brussels, then to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, where he remained until his death. David had many students, which made him the strongest influence on early 19th century French art, especially academic salon painting.
Jacques-Louis David (* 30 August 1748 in Paris; † 29 December 1825 in Brussels) was a French history painter of the Classicist period, considered the preeminent painter of the period. In the 1780s, his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from the frocolity of the Rococo to classical austerity and austerity and heightened feeling that harmonized with the moral climate of the last years of the Ancien Régime.