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Featured Masterpiece  

This month's featured oil painting is David's 'Cupid and Psyche'.

Jacques-Louis David was born into a prosperous family in Paris on August 30, 1748. When he was nine, his father was killed in a duel, and his mother left him with his prosperous architect uncles. They saw to it that he received an excellent education at the College des Quatre-Nations, but he was never a good student; he had a tumor that impeded his speech, and he was always too busy drawing.

He covered his notebooks with drawings, and he once said, I was always hiding behind the instructors chair, drawing for the duration of the class. Soon, he desired to be a painter, but his uncles and mother wanted him to be an architect. He soon overcame the opposition, and went to learn from Francois Boucher, the leading painter of the time, who was also a distant relative. Boucher was a Rococo painter, which was falling out of style and becoming more classical. Boucher decided that instead of taking over Davids tutelage, he would send David to his friend Joseph-Marie Vien, a mediocre painter, but one that embraced the classical reaction to Rococo. There David attended the Royal Academy, based in what is now the Louvre.

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