name: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
birth place: Montauban, France
birth date: 28 August 1780
zodiac sign: Virgo
death place: Paris, France
death date: 14 January 1876
Profile of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres ( 29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter. Ingres was profoundly influenced by past artistic traditions and aspired to become the guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style. Although he considered himself a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, it is his portraits, both painted and drawn, that are recognized as his greatest legacy. His expressive distortions of form and space made him an important precursor of modern art, influencing Picasso, Matisse and other modernists.
Born into a modest family in Montauban, he travelled to Paris to study in the studio of David. In 1802 he made his Salon debut, and won the Prix de Rome for his painting The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the tent of Achilles. By the time he departed in 1806 for his residency in Rome, his style—revealing his close study of Italian and Flemish Renaissance masters—was fully developed, and would change little for the rest of his life. While working in Rome and subsequently Florence from 1806 to 1824, he regularly sent paintings to the Paris Salon, where they were faulted by critics who found his style bizarre and archaic. He received few commissions during this period for the history paintings he aspired to paint, but was able to support himself and his wife as a portrait painter and draughtsman.
He was finally recognized at the Salon in 1824, when his Raphaelesque painting of the Vow of Louis XIII was met with acclaim, and Ingres was acknowledged as the leader of the Neoclassical school in France. Although the income from commissions for history paintings allowed him to paint fewer portraits, his Portrait of Monsieur Bertin marked his next popular success in 1833. The following year, his indignation at the harsh criticism of his ambitious composition The Martyrdom of Saint Symphorian caused him to return to Italy, where he assumed directorship of the French Academy in Rome in 1835 but he returned to Paris for good in 1841.
In his later years he painted new versions of many of his earlier compositions, a series of designs for stained glass windows, several important portraits of women, and The Turkish Bath, the last of his several Orientalist paintings of the female nude, which he finished at the age of 83.
Ingres was also an amateur violin player from his youth, and played for a time as second violinist for the orchestra of Toulouse. When he was Director of the French Academy in Rome, he played frequently with the music students and guest artists. Charles Gounod, who was a student under Ingres at the Academy, merely noted that "he was not a professional, even less a virtuoso". Along with the student musicians, he performed Beethoven string quartets with Niccolò Paganini. In an 1839 letter, Franz Liszt described his playing as "charming", and planned to play through all the Mozart and Beethoven violin sonatas with Ingres. Liszt also dedicated his transcriptions of the 5th and 6th symphonies of Beethoven to Ingres on their original publication in 1840.
Biography of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Ingres was born in Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, France, his father Joseph Ingres was a successful jack-of-all-trades in the arts, a painter of miniatures, sculptor, decorative stonemason, and amateur musician; his mother was the nearly illiterate daughter of a master wigmaker. From his father the young Ingres received early encouragement and instruction in drawing and music, and his first known drawing, a study after an antique cast, was made in 1789. Starting in 1786 he attended the local school École des Frères de l'Éducation Chrétienne, but his education was disrupted by the turmoil of the French Revolution, and the closing of the school in 1791 marked the end of his conventional education. The deficiency in his schooling would always remain for him a source of insecurity.
In 1791, his father took him to Toulouse, where the young Jean-Auguste-Dominique was enrolled in the Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture. There he studied under the sculptor Jean-Pierre Vigan, the landscape painter Jean Briant, and the neoclassical painter Guillaume-Joseph Roques. Roques' veneration of Raphael was a decisive influence on the young artist. Ingres won prizes in several disciplines, such as composition, "figure and antique", and life studies. His musical talent was developed under the tutelage of the violinist Lejeune, and from the ages of thirteen to sixteen he played second violin in the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse.
Ingres's well-known passion for playing the violin gave rise to a common expression in the French language, "violon d'Ingres", meaning a second skill beyond the one by which a person is mainly known. The American avant-garde artist Man Ray used this expression as the title of a famous photograph portraying Alice Prin (aka Kiki de Montparnasse) in the pose of the Valpinçon Bather.
From an early age he was determined to be a history painter, which, in the hierarchy of artists established by the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture under Louis XIV, and continued well into the 19th Century, was considered the highest level of painting. He did not want to simply make portraits or illustrations of real life like his father; he wanted to represent the heroes of religion, history and mythology, to idealize them and show them in ways that explained their actions, rivaling the best works of literature and philosophy.
In March 1797, the Academy awarded Ingres first prize in drawing, and in August he traveled to Paris to study in the studio of Jacques-Louis David, France's—and Europe's—leading painter during the revolutionary period, in whose studio he remained for four years. Ingres followed his master's neoclassical example. In 1797 David was working on his enormous masterpiece, The Intervention of the Sabine Women, and was gradually modifying his style away from Roman models of rigorous realism to the ideals of purity, virtue and simplicity in Greek art. One of the other students of David, Étienne-Jean Delécluze, who later became an art critic, described Ingres as a student:
He was distinguished not just by the candor of his character and his disposition to work alone ... he was one of the most studious ... he took little part in all the turbulent follies around him, and he studied with more perseverance than most of his co-disciples ... All of the qualities which characterize today the talent of this artist, the finesse of contour, the true and profound sentiment of the form, and a modeling with extraordinary correctness and firmness, could already be seen in his early studies. While several of his comrades and David himself signaled a tendency toward exaggeration in his studies, everyone was struck by his grand compositions and recognized his talent.
He was admitted to the painting department of the École des Beaux-Arts in October 1799. In 1800 and 1801, he won the grand prize for figure painting for his paintings of male torsos and competed for the Prix de Rome, the highest prize of the Academy, which entitled the winner to four years of residence at the Académie de France in Rome. He came in second in his first attempt, but in 1801 he took the top prize with The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the tent of Achilles. The figures of the envoys, in the right of the painting, are muscular and solid as statues, in the style taught by David, but the two main figures on the left, Achilles and Patroclus, are mobile, vivid and graceful, like figures in a delicate bas-relief.
His residence in Rome was postponed until 1806 due to shortage of state funds. In the meantime he worked in Paris alongside several other students of David in a studio provided by the state, and further developed a style that emphasized purity of contour. He found inspiration in the works of Raphael, in Etruscan vase paintings, and in the outline engravings of the English artist John Flaxman. His drawings of Hermaphrodite and the Nymph Salmacis showed a new stylized ideal of female beauty, which would reappear later in his Jupiter et Thetis and his famous nudes.
In 1802 he made his debut at the Salon with Portrait of a Woman (the current whereabouts of which is unknown). Between 1804 and 1806 he painted a series of portraits which were striking for their extreme precision, particularly in the richness of their fabrics and tiny details. These included the Portrait of Philipbert Riviére (1805), Portrait of Sabine Rivière (1805–06), Portrait of Madame Aymon (also known as La Belle Zélie; 1806), and Portrait of Caroline Rivière (1805–06). The female faces were not at all detailed but were softened, and were notable for their large oval eyes and delicate flesh colours and their rather dreamlike expressions. His portraits typically had simple backgrounds of solid dark or light colour, or of sky. These were the beginning of a series that would make him among the most celebrated portrait artists of the 19th century.
As Ingres waited to depart to Rome, his friend Lorenzo Bartolini introduced him to Italian Renaissance paintings, particularly the works of Bronzino and Pontormo, which Napoleon had brought back from his campaign in Italy and placed in the Louvre. Ingres assimilated their clarity and monumentality into his own portrait style. In the Louvre were also masterpieces of Flemish art, including the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck, which the French army had seized during its conquest of Flanders. The precision of Renaissance Flemish art became part of Ingres's style. Ingres's stylistic eclecticism represented a new tendency in art. The Louvre, newly filled with booty seized by Napoleon in his campaigns in Italy and the Low Countries, provided French artists of the early 19th century with an unprecedented opportunity to study, compare, and copy masterworks from antiquity and from the entire history of European painting. As art historian Marjorie Cohn has written: "At the time, art history as a scholarly enquiry was brand-new. Artists and critics outdid each other in their attempts to identify, interpret, and exploit what they were just beginning to perceive as historical stylistic developments." From the beginning of his career, Ingres freely borrowed from earlier art, adopting the historical style appropriate to his subject, and was consequently accused by critics of plundering the past.
In 1803 he received a prestigious commission, being one of five artists selected (along with Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Robert Lefèvre, Charles Meynier, and Marie-Guillemine Benoist) to paint full-length portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul. These were to be distributed to the prefectural towns of Liège, Antwerp, Dunkerque, Brussels, and Ghent, all of which were newly ceded to France in the 1801 Treaty of Lunéville. Napoleon is not known to have granted the artists a sitting, and Ingres's meticulously painted portrait of Bonaparte, First Consul appears to be modelled on an image of Napoleon painted by Antoine-Jean Gros in 1802.
Ingres painted a new portrait of Napoleon for presentation at the 1806 Salon, this one showing Napoleon on the Imperial Throne for his coronation. This painting was entirely different from his earlier portrait of Napoleon as First Consul; it concentrated almost entirely on the lavish imperial costume that Napoleon had chosen to wear, and the symbols of power he held. The scepter of Charles V, the sword of Charlemagne, the rich fabrics, furs and capes, crown of gold leaves, golden chains and emblems were all presented in extremely precise detail; the Emperor's face and hands were almost lost in the majestic costume.
At the Salon, his paintings: Self-Portrait, portraits of the Rivière family, and Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne received a very chilly reception. David delivered a severe judgement, and the critics were hostile. Chaussard (Le Pausanias Français, 1806) praised "the fineness of Ingres's brushwork and the finish", but condemned Ingres's style as gothic and asked:
How, with so much talent, a line so flawless, an attention to detail so thorough, has M. Ingres succeeded in painting a bad picture? The answer is that he wanted to do something singular, something extraordinary ... M. Ingres's intention is nothing less than to make art regress by four centuries, to carry us back to its infancy, to revive the manner of Jean de Bruges?
Rome and Florence
After arriving in Rome, Ingres read with mounting indignation the relentlessly negative press clippings sent to him from Paris by his friends. In letters to his prospective father-in-law, he expressed his outrage at the critics: "So the Salon is the scene of my disgrace; ... The scoundrels, they waited until I was away to assassinate my reputation ... I have never been so unhappy....I knew I had many enemies; I never was agreeable with them and never will be. My greatest wish would be to fly to the Salon and to confound them with my works, which don't in any way resemble theirs; and the more I advance, the less their work will resemble mine." He vowed never again to exhibit at the Salon, and his refusal to return to Paris led to the breaking up of his engagement. Julie Forestier, when asked years later why she had never married, responded, "When one has had the honor of being engaged to M. Ingres, one does not marry."
On 23 November 1806, he wrote to Jean Forestier, the father of his former fiancée, "Yes, art will need to be reformed, and I intend to be that revolutionary." Characteristically, he found a studio on the grounds of the Villa Medici away from the other resident artists, and painted furiously. Many drawings of monuments in Rome from this time are attributed to Ingres, but it appears from more recent scholarship that they were actually the work of his collaborators, particularly his friend the landscape artist François-Marius Granet. As required of every winner of the Prix, he sent works at regular intervals to Paris so his progress could be judged. Traditionally fellows sent paintings of male Greek or Roman heroes, but for his first samples Ingres sent Baigneuse à mi-corps (1807), a painting of the back of a young woman bathing, based on an engraving of an antique vase, and La Grande Bagneuse (1808), a larger painting of the back of a nude bather, and the first Ingres model to wear a turban, a detail he borrowed from the Fornarina by his favourite painter, Raphael.
To satisfy the Academy in Paris, he also dispatched Oedipus and the Sphinx to show his mastery of the male nude. The verdict of the academicians in Paris was that the figures were not sufficiently idealized. In later years Ingres painted several variants of these compositions; another nude begun in 1807, the Venus Anadyomene, remained in an unfinished state for decades, to be completed forty years later and finally exhibited in 1855.
During his time in Rome he also produced numerous portraits: Madame Duvauçay, François-Marius Granet, Edme-François-Joseph Bochet, Madame Panckoucke, and that of Madame la Comtesse de Tournon, mother of the prefect of the department of the Tiber. In 1810 Ingres's pension at the Villa Medici ended, but he decided to stay in Rome and seek patronage from the French occupation government.
In 1811 Ingres completed his final student exercise, the immense Jupiter and Thetis, a scene from the Iliad of Homer: the goddess of the Sea, Thetis, pleads with Zeus to act in favor of her son Achilles. The face of the water nymph Salmacis he had drawn years earlier reappeared as Thetis. Ingres wrote with enthusiasm that he had been planning to paint this subject since 1806, and he intended to "deploy all of the luxury of art in its beauty". However, once again, the critics were hostile, finding fault with the exaggerated proportions of the figures and the painting's flat, airless quality.
Although facing uncertain prospects, in 1813 Ingres married a young woman, Madeleine Chapelle, recommended to him by her friends in Rome. After a courtship carried out through correspondence, he proposed without having met her, and she accepted.
Their marriage was happy; Madame Ingres's faith was unwavering. He continued to suffer disparaging reviews, as Don Pedro of Toledo Kissing Henry IV's Sword, Raphael and the Fornarina (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University), several portraits, and the Interior of the Sistine Chapel met with generally hostile critical response at the Paris Salon of 1814.
After he left the Academy, a few important commissions came to him. The French governor of Rome, General Miollis, a wealthy patron of the arts, asked him to decorate rooms of the Monte Cavallo Palace, a former papal residence, for an expected visit of Napoleon. Ingres painted a large-scale Romulus' Victory Over Acron (1811) for the salon of the Empress and The Dream of Ossian (1813), based on a book of poems that Napoleon admired, for the ceiling of the Emperor's bedroom. General Miollis also commissioned Ingres to paint Virgil reading the Aeneid (1812) for his own residence, the villa Aldobrandini. The painting showed the moment when Virgil predicted the death of Marcellus, the son of Livia, causing Livia to faint. The interior was precisely depicted, following the archeological finds at Pompeii. As usual, Ingres made several versions of the same scene: a three-figure fragment cut from an abandoned version is in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, and in 1832 he made a drawing in vertical format as a model for a reproductive engraving by Pradier. The General Miollis version was repurchased by Ingres in the 1830s, reworked by assistants under Ingres's direction, and never finished; The Dream of Ossian was likewise repurchased, modified, but left unfinished.
He traveled to Naples in the spring of 1814 to paint Queen Caroline Murat. Joachim Murat, the King of Naples, had earlier purchased the Dormeuse de Naples, a sleeping nude (the original is lost, but several drawings exist, and Ingres later revisited the subject in L'Odalisque à l'esclave). Murat also commissioned two historical paintings, Raphael et la Fornarina and Paolo et Francesca, and what later became one of Ingres's most famous works, La Grande Odalisque, to accompany Dormeuse de Naples. Ingres never received payment, due to the collapse of the Murat regime and execution of Joachim Murat in 1815. With the fall of Napoleon's dynasty, he found himself essentially stranded in Rome without patronage.
Ingres continued to produce masterful portraits, both in pencil and oils, of almost photographic precision; but with the departure of the French administration, the painting commissions were rare. During this low point of his career, Ingres augmented his income by drawing pencil portraits of the many wealthy tourists, in particular the English, passing through postwar Rome. The portrait drawings he produced in such profusion during this period rank today among his most admired works. He is estimated to have made some five hundred portrait drawings, including portraits of his famous friends. His friends included many musicians including Paganini, and he regularly played the violin with others who shared his enthusiasm for Mozart, Haydn, Gluck, and Beethoven.
He also produced a series of small paintings in what was known as the Troubador style, idealized portrayals of events in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In 1815 he painted Aretino and Charles V's Ambassador as well as Aretino and Tintoretto, an anecdotal painting whose subject, a painter brandishing a pistol at his critic, may have been especially satisfying to the embattled Ingres. Other paintings in the same style included Henry IV Playing with His Children (1817) and the Death of Leonardo.
In 1816 Ingres produced his only etching, a portrait of the French ambassador to Rome, Monsignor Gabriel Cortois de Pressigny. The only other prints he is known to have executed are two lithographs: The Four Magistrates of Besançon, made as an illustration for Baron Taylor's Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l'ancienne France, and a copy of La Grande Odalisque, both in 1825.
In 1817 the Count of Blacas, who was ambassador of France to the Holy See, provided Ingres with his first official commission since 1814, for a painting of Christ Giving the Keys to Peter. Completed in 1820, this imposing work was well received in Rome but to the artist's chagrin the ecclesiastical authorities there would not permit it to be sent to Paris for exhibition.
A commission came in 1816 or 1817 from the descendants of the Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva, for a painting of the Duke receiving papal honours for his repression of the Protestant Reformation. Ingres loathed the subject—he regarded the Duke as one of history's brutes—and struggled to satisfy both the commission and his conscience. After revisions which eventually reduced the Duke to a tiny figure in the background, Ingres left the work unfinished. He entered in his diary, "J'etais forcé par la necessité de peindre un pareil tableau; Dieu a voulu qu'il reste en ebauche." ("I was forced by need to paint such a painting; God wanted it to remain a sketch.)
He continued to send works to the Salon in Paris, hoping to make his breakthrough there. In 1819 he sent his reclining nude, La Grande Odalisque, as well as a history painting, Philip V and the Marshal of Berwick, and Roger Freeing Angelica, based on an episode in the 16th-century epic poem Orlando Furioso by Ariosto but his work was once again condemned by critics as gothic and unnatural.The critic Kératy complained that the Grande Odalisque's back was three vertebrae too long. The critic Charles Landon wrote: "After a moment of attention, one sees that in this figure there are no bones, no muscles, no blood, no life, no relief, no anything which constitutes imitation....it is evident that the artist deliberately erred, that he wanted to do it badly, that he believed in bringing back to life the pure and primitive manner of the painters of Antiquity; but he took for his model a few fragments from earlier periods and a degenerate execution, and completely lost his way."
In 1820 Ingres and his wife moved to Florence at the urging of the Florentine sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini, an old friend from his years in Paris. He still had to depend upon his portraits and drawings for income, but his luck began to change. His history painting Roger Freeing Angelica was purchased for the private collection of Louis XVIII, and was hung in the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris, which was newly devoted to the work of living artists. This was the first work of Ingres to enter a museum.
In 1821 he finished a painting commissioned by a childhood friend, Monsieur de Pastoret, The Entry into Paris of the Dauphin, the Future Charles V; de Pastoret also ordered a portrait of himself and a religious work (Virgin with the Blue Veil). In August 1820, with the help of de Pastoret, he received a commission for a major religious painting for the Cathedral of Montauban. The theme was the re-establishment of the bond between the church and the state. Ingres's painting, The Vow of Louis XIII (1824), inspired by Raphael, was purely in the Renaissance style, and depicted King Louis XIII vowing to dedicate his reign to the Virgin Mary. This was perfectly in tune with the doctrine of the new government of the Restoration. He spent four years bringing the large canvas to completion, and he took it to the Paris Salon in October 1824, where it became the key that finally opened the door of the Paris art establishment and to his career as an official painter.
The Vow of Louis XIII in the Salon of 1824 finally brought Ingres critical success. Although Stendhal complained about "the sort of material beauty which excludes the idea of divinity", most critics praised the work. The journalist and future Prime Minister and French President Adolphe Thiers celebrated the breakthrough of a new style: "Nothing is better than variety like this, the essential character of the new style." In January 1825 he was awarded the Cross of the Légion d'honneur by Charles X, and in June 1825 he was elected a member of Académie des Beaux-Arts. Lithographs of La Grande Odalisque published in 1826 in two competing versions by Delpech and Sudré found eager buyers; Ingres received 24,000 francs for the reproduction rights – twenty times the amount he had been paid for the original painting six years earlier. The 1824 Salon also brought forward a counter-current to the neoclassicism of Ingres: Eugène Delacroix exhibited Les Massacres de Scio, in a romantic style sharply contrasting to that of Ingres.
The success of Ingres's painting led in 1826 to a major new commission, The Apotheosis of Homer, a giant canvas which celebrated all the great artists of history, intended to decorate the ceiling of one of the halls of the Museum Charles X at the Louvre. Ingres was unable to finish the work in time for the 1827 Salon, but displayed the painting in grisaille.The 1827 Salon became a confrontation between the neoclassicism of Ingres's Apotheosis and a new manifesto of romanticism by Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus. Ingres joined the battle with enthusiasm; he called Delacroix "the apostle of ugliness" and told friends that he recognized "the talent, the honorable character and distinguished spirit" of Delacroix, but that "he has tendencies which I believe are dangerous and which I must push back."
Despite the considerable patronage he enjoyed under the Bourbon government, Ingres welcomed the July Revolution of 1830.That the outcome of the Revolution was not a republic but a constitutional monarchy was satisfactory to the essentially conservative and pacifistic artist, who in a letter to a friend in August 1830 criticized agitators who "still want to soil and disturb the order and happiness of a freedom so gloriously, so divinely won." Ingres's career was little affected, and he continued to receive official commissions and honors under the July Monarchy.
Ingres exhibited in the Salon of 1833, where his portrait of Louis-François Bertin (1832) was a particular success. The public found its realism spellbinding, although some of the critics declared its naturalism vulgar and its colouring drab. In 1834 he finished a large religious painting, The Martyrdom of Saint Symphorian, which depicted the first saint to be martyred in Gaul. The painting was commissioned in 1824 by the Ministry of the Interior for the Cathedral of Autun, and the iconography in the picture was specified by the bishop. Ingres conceived the painting as the summation of all of his work and skill, and worked on it for ten years before displaying it at the 1834 Salon. He was surprised, shocked and angered by the response; the painting was attacked by both the neoclassicists and by the romantics. Ingres was accused of historical inaccuracy, for the colours, and for the feminine appearance of the Saint, who looked like a beautiful statue. In anger, Ingres announced that he would no longer accept public commissions, and that he would no longer participate in the Salon. He later did participate in some semi-public expositions and a retrospective of his work at the 1855 Paris International Exposition, but never again took part in the Salon or submitted his work for public judgement. Instead, at the end of 1834 he returned to Rome to become the Director of the Academy of France.
Ingres remained in Rome for six years. He devoted much of his attention to the training of the painting students, as he was later to do at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He re-organized the Academy, increased the size of the library, added many molds of classical statues to the Academy collection, and assisted the students in getting public commissions in both Rome and Paris. He traveled to Orvieto (1835), Sienna (1835), Ravenna and Urbino to study the paleochristian mosaics, medieval murals and Renaissance art. He devoted considerable attention to music, one of the subjects of the academy; he welcomed Franz Liszt and Fanny Mendelssohn. He formed a long friendship with Liszt. The composer Charles Gounod, who was a pensioner at the time at the Academy, described Ingres's appreciation of modern music, including Weber and Berlioz, and his adoration for Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Gluck. He joined the music students and his friend Niccolò Paganini in playing Beethoven's violin works. Gounod wrote that Ingres "had the tenderness of an infant and the indignation of an apostle." When Stendhal visited the Academy and disparaged Beethoven, Ingres turned to the doorman, indicated Stendahl, and told him, "If this gentleman ever calls again, I am not here."
His rancor against the Paris art establishment for his failure at the 1834 Salon did not abate. In 1836 he refused a major commission from the French Minister of the Interior, Adolphe Thiers, to decorate the interior of the Church of the Madeleine in Paris, because the commission had been offered first to a rival, Paul Delaroche, who refused it. He did complete a small number of works which he sent to patrons in Paris. One was L'Odalisque et l'esclave, (1839), a portrait of a blonde odalisque, or member of a harem, who reclines languorously while a turbaned musician plays. This fitted into the popular genre of orientalism; his rival Eugène Delacroix had created a painting on a similar theme, Les Femmes d'Alger, for the 1834 Salon. The setting was inspired by Persian miniatures and was full of exotic detail, but the woman's long reclining form was pure Ingres. The critic Théophile Gautier wrote of Ingres's work: "It is impossible to better paint the mystery, the silence and the suffocating atmosphere of the seraglio." In 1842 he painted a second version, nearly identical to the first but with a landscape background (painted by his student Paul Flandrin)
The second painting he sent, in 1840, was The Illness of Antiochus (1840; also known as Aniochus and Stratonice) a history painting on a theme of love and sacrifice, a theme once painted by David in 1800, when Ingres was in his studio. It was commissioned by the Duc d'Orleans, the son of King Louis Philippe I), and had very elaborate architectural background designed by one of the Academy students, Victor Baltard, the future architect of the Paris market Les Halles. The central figure was an ethereal woman in white, whose contemplative pose with her hand on her chin recurs in some of Ingres's female portraits.
His painting of Aniochius and Stratonice, despite its small size, just one meter, was a major success for Ingres. In August it was shown in the private apartment of the duc d'Orléans in the Pavilion Marsan of the Palais des Tuileries. The King greeted him personally at Versailles and gave him a tour of the Palace. He was offered a commission to paint a portrait of the Duke, the heir to the throne, and another from the Duc de Lunyes to create two huge murals for the Château de Dampierre. In April 1841 he returned definitively to Paris.
Paris, Last years
One of the first works executed after his return to Paris was a portrait of the duc d'Orléans. After the heir to the throne was killed in a carriage accident a few months after the painting was completed in 1842, Ingres received commissions to make additional copies. He also received a commission to design seventeen stained glass windows for the chapel on the place where the accident occurred, and a commission for eight additional stained-glass designs for Orléans chapel in Dreux. He became a professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He took his students frequently to the Louvre to see the classical and Renaissance art, instructing them to look straight ahead and to avoid the works of Rubens, which he believed deviated too far from the true values of art.
The Revolution of 1848, which overthrew Louis Philippe and created the French Second Republic, had little effect on his work or his ideas. He declared that the revolutionaries were "cannibals who called themselves French", but during the Revolution completed his Vénus Anadyoméne, which he had started as an academic study in 1808. It represented Venus, rising from the sea which had given birth to her, surrounded by cherubs. He welcomed the patronage of the new government of Louis-Napoleon, who would in 1852 become Emperor Napoleon III.
1849 Ingres lost his wife and in October 1851 he resigned as professor at the École des Beaux-Arts.
In 1852, Ingres, then seventy-one years of age, married forty-three-year-old Delphine Ramel, a relative of his friend Marcotte d'Argenteuil. Ingres was rejuvenated, and in the decade that followed he completed several significant works, including the portrait of Princesse Albert de Broglie.
In 1853 he began the Apotheosis of Napoleon I, for the ceiling of a hall in the Hôtel de Ville, Paris. (It was destroyed in May 1871 when the Paris Commune set fire to the building.) With the help of assistants, in 1854 he completed another history painting, Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII. A retrospective of his works was featured at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1855, and in the same year Napoleon III named him a Grand Officer of the Légion d'honneur.
He continued to rework and refine his classic themes. In 1856 Ingres completed The Source (The Spring), a painting begun in 1820 and closely related to his Venus Anadyoméne. He painted two versions of Louis XIV and Molière (1857 and 1860), and produced variant copies of several of his earlier compositions. These included religious works in which the figure of the Virgin from The Vow of Louis XIII was reprised: The Virgin of the Adoption of 1858 was followed by The Virgin Crowned and The Virgin with Child.
In 1859 he produced new versions of The Virgin of the Host, and in 1862 he completed Christ and the Doctors, a work commissioned many years before by Queen Marie Amalie for the chapel of Bizy. He painted small replicas of Paolo and Francesca and Oedipus and the Sphinx. In 1862 he completed a small oil-on-paper version of The Golden Age.
The last of his important portrait paintings date from this period: Marie-Clothilde-Inés de Foucauld, Madame Moitessier, Seated (1856), Self-Portrait at the Age of Seventy-eight and Madame J.-A.-D. Ingres, both completed in 1859. At the request of the Uffizi Gallery of Florence, he made his own-self portrait in 1858. The only colour in the painting is the red of his rosette of the Legion of Honour.
In 1862 he was awarded the title of Senator, and made a member of the Imperial Council on Public Instruction. Three of his works were shown in the London International Exhibition, and his reputation as a major French painter was confirmed once more.
Near the end of his life, he made one of his best-known masterpieces, The Turkish Bath. It reprised a figure and theme he had been paint.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres est né à Montauban le 29 août 17802. Son père, le peintre et sculpteur Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres, a favorisé ses penchants artistiques. Il entre en 1791 à l’Académie de Toulouse où il est formé par Jean Suau, puis se rend à Paris, en 1796, pour étudier sous la direction de Jacques-Louis David. Il s’éloigne de son néo-classicisme par son dévouement à un idéal de beauté fondé sur de difficiles harmonies de lignes et de couleurs. Il peint le portrait d'amis ainsi que de Pierre-François Bernier, qu'il connaît de Montauban. Il remporte le prix de Rome à sa deuxième tentative en 1801 avec Les Ambassadeurs d'Agamemnon, mais il ne peut s'y rendre immédiatement. Il s'installe avec d'autres élèves de David à l'ancien couvent des Capucines où il peint principalement des portraits.
En juin 1806, il se fiance avec Marie-Anne-Julie Forestier, mais sa relation ne résiste pas à son absence après son départ pour Rome en septembre.
En 1806, Ingres découvre à Rome, Raphaël et le Quattrocento, qui marquent définitivement son style. Ces années de travail sont les plus fécondes avec les nus, parmi lesquels La Baigneuse, les paysages, les dessins, les portraits et les compositions historiques. Il est en pleine possession de son art et son séjour à Rome est aussi l'occasion de tisser des liens amicaux avec les grands commis de l'administration impériale : le comte de Tournon et sa mère, Edme Bochet et sa sœur Cécile Bochet madame Henry Panckoucke, Hippolyte-François Devillers, le baron de Montbreton de Norvins. En France, cependant, ses toiles peintes en Italie ne plaisent pas. L’artiste décide alors de rester à Rome. Il se marie en 1813 avec Madeleine Chapelle (1782-1849), une jeune modiste habitant Guéret. Ingres réalisa dix portraits de sa femme. Mais le plus célèbre tableau sur lequel elle apparait est Le Bain turc. Madeleine pose pour l'odalisque aux bras levés qui s'étire au premier plan. Le tableau a été réalisé en 1862, après la mort de Madeleine. Elle fut peinte d'après un croquis qu'Ingres avait réalisé en 1818. En 1850, il va à Châlons chez sa belle-mère pour connaître les lieux où sa femme a vécu, et y rencontre le notaire Louois Changy. Il semble y être retourné l'année suivante.
À la chute de Napoléon Ier, des difficultés économiques et familiales l’entraînent dans une période financièrement difficile pendant laquelle il peint, avec acharnement, tout ce qu’on lui commande. Il sollicite ses amitiés romaines et ses bonnes relations avec les Panckoucke et les Bochet lui présentent Charles Marcotte d'Argenteuil, ami de Jacques-Édouard Gatteaux, ami proche d'Ingres. Très vite, Charles Marcotte d'Argenteuil devient un proche du peintre, jusqu'à devenir un de ses principaux mécènes jusqu'à son décès en 1864. Après la mort de Madeleine, ce dernier ira même jusqu'à lui présenter sa nièce, Delphine Ramel, qu'Ingres épousera le 15 avril 1852. De ce mariage, viendra la décision d'acheter la maison de Meung-sur-Loire avec son nouveau beau-frère, Jean-François Guille, notaire et conseiller général du Loiret, où il se retirera tous les étés pour bénéficier de la douceur et de la lumière de la Loire.
Nombre de membres de la famille Marcotte seront de fidèles acheteurs, comme Philippe Marcotte de Quivières et ses frères Marcotte de Sainte-Marie et Marcotte de Genlis, le baron Charles Athanase Walckenaer, Alexandre Legentil et le baron Hubert Rohault de Fleury (tous deux initiateurs du projet de la basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre), Cécile Bochet, devenue madame Henry Panckoucke et baronne Morande-Forgeot, et le clan Ramel.
En 1820, il quitte Rome pour Florence où il réside jusqu'en 1824.
Il trouve finalement le succès en France avec son Vœu de Louis XIII exposé au Salon de 1824, destiné à la cathédrale de Montauban. Il devient directeur de l’Académie de France à Rome de 1835 à 1840. Appelé, le 25 mai 1862, à faire partie du Sénat impérial, il y vota jusqu'à sa mort conformément aux vœux du pouvoir. Il avait été élevé au grade de grand officier de la Légion d'honneur le 14 novembre 1855.
Ingres attache au dessin une grande importance et déclarait à ce sujet : « Une chose bien dessinée est toujours assez bien peinte. » La galerie de portraits réalistes qu’il laisse, constitue un miroir de la société bourgeoise de son temps, de l’esprit et des mœurs d’une classe à laquelle il appartient et dont il trace les vertus et les limites. Ingres s’intéresse beaucoup à la texture des vêtements et des étoffes (velours, soie, satin, cachemire…) qu’il intègre dans ses œuvres afin de noter la classe sociale du personnage. Il s’inspire, à ses débuts, de l'esthétique de l’art grec, avant de se tourner vers une approche plus souple des courbes et des drapés. Ingres n'hésitait pas à accentuer l'anatomie de ses modèles pour atteindre son idéal de beauté ; ainsi, il rajouta trois vertèbres à sa Grande Odalisque.
Ingres reçoit à partir de 1824 honneurs et commandes officielles. Il n'abandonne cependant pas le portrait dont celui de Monsieur Bertin, de 1832, est un sommet.
Le rejet par la critique et par le public, de sa dernière peinture d'histoire Le Martyre de Saint Symphorien exposée au Salon de 1834, le détermine à accepter la direction de l'Académie de France à Rome, où il reste jusqu'en 1845. De retour à Paris, il peint à nouveau des portraits et reçoit à nouveau des commandes de grandes œuvres décoratives .
Il se détache du néo-classicisme par la subordination de la forme à l'expression, simplifiant ou déformant l'anatomie pour se rapprocher de l'expression du caractère individuel. Il s'oppose aussi à l'enseignement officiel sur la nature du beau idéal. Pour l'Académie, celui-ci se traduit par un jeu de proportions canoniques, et la profondeur du savoir du peintre s'obtient par la connaissance de l'anatomie artistique, tandis qu'Ingres réprouve l'étude de l'intérieur du corps humain au profit de l'observation fine de la morphologie10, qui aboutit à représenter non pas un idéal générique, mais celui correspondant à l'individualité du modèle, et pratique la simplification des formes, condamnant la représentation du détail à l'intérieur du modelé.
Dominique Ingres est aussi violoniste et devient, durant un temps, deuxième violon à l’Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse. De ce loisir est née l’expression « violon d’Ingres ».
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