Dorothy Johnson has written several books related to David and the Neoclassicists. David to Delacroix: The Rise of Romantic Mythology is probably her best work. I think about this little book a lot.
Even though the Neoclassicists are best known for their Classically-inspired history paintings, Johnson reminds us that it was under their brush that mythological themes became an important subject throughout the 19th century.
Beginning with the young David (1748–1829), Johnson traces her theme until the heyday of Delacroix (1798 –1863). Delacroix is a good place to end her story; the Academic artists who filled subsequent Salons with saccharine cupids cannot be compared to the masters offered here.
The Importance of classical mythology for the authors and artists of David’s time makes it a rich field for art historians and is much neglected.
Highly recommended although it’s odd that a book with David’s name in the title reproduces an Ingre on its cover.
David’s Sappho and Phaon: