Jacques-Antoine Beaufort
French, 1721-1784

Jacques-Antoine Beaufort played a central role in the development of academic Neoclassical history painting, drawing primarily from Greek and Roman chronicles. He is best known for The Oath of Brutus (c. 1771), exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1771, which depicts the oath taken by Brutus and his associates to avenge the death of Lucretia. The work is thought to owe a debt to the Scottish Neoclassical history painter Gavin Hamilton’s Oath of Brutus (c.1760). Despite the use of elaborate ornamental costumes that reflect some of the characteristics of earlier Rococo painting, the work also broke new ground in its simple gestures, architectural setting, and directness of subject matter. Beaufort exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon between 1767 and 1783, and produced one of 10 large-scale paintings on the life of St. Louis for the chapel of the École Royale Militaire. Though awarded a …

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