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Jacque-Louis David and the Leo HeroDavidImage

Jacque-Louis David was not a Leo by Sun sign. He was a Virgo and his technique reflects a lot of Virgo traits. David began his paintings with meticulous drawings and, for his history paintings, he thoroughly researched the clothing designs and architecture of the period. When we look at David’s early work, his Virgo Sun shines through.(Clilck here to see a gallery of David's work.)


But David was also born with Venus, Mars and Mercury in Leo and, in his later paintings, it is these Leo planets that dominate. What happened make this change? David found a hero.(Click here to see a horoscope for David charted for noon.)

 


Leo people view themselves in heroic terms. No matter how prosaic the activity, Leo goes at it as if they were the star player. Of course, Leo can’t be the star at everything. There are always going to be areas of life in which Leo wants to excel but lacks the talent, physicality or time to master. This is why Leos are often prone to hero-worship. When Leo people see someone excelling at something at which they can’t, they can’t help but project a bit of themselves onto that extraordinary person.


David was deeply involved in the French Revolution. He sat on committees and signed death warrants for suspected counter-revolutionaries. But when Napoleon Bonaparte took over, David decided it was time to put aside politics and return to his paint brushes, because now he had hero worthy of his talents.


David never got much chance to paint Napoleon from life. The Emperor was much too busy conquering the world to sit for a portrait. But that didn’t matter. David wasn’t painting the man named Bonaparte. He was painting his own heroic conception of that man. Since Napoleon was a Leo by Sun sign, he found such likenesses more than sufficient. David became Napoleon’s official painter.


The painting above is supposed to depict Napoleon crossing the Alps. It bears little resemblance to what really happened, but that doesn’t matter. Even though the Virgo inside us all cries out for raw, unadulterated facts, Leo knows that it is the heroic image that will truly capture our hearts. So David is content to put aside the facts in this painting, and instead he gives us a hero.


When Napoleon was defeated and exiled, the Bourbon king who took his place invited David to become his court painter. The aging artist flatly refused this rather surprising offer and moved to Belgium. Leo people stick by their heroes. They are quick to defend these people and slow to recognize their deficiencies. That because that hero (or heroine) has become an extension of the Leo self, and self-criticism is the one area of life in which most Leos never want to excel.

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