Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Biography
Ingres was a French painter. A leading Neo-Classicist, Ingres was a student of Jacques Louis David. Ingres studied and worked in Rome about 1807–20, where he began the Odalisque series of sensuous female nudes, then went to Florence, and returned to France 1824. His portrait paintings painted in the 1840s–50s are meticulously detailed and highly polished.
A master draughtsman, Ingres considered drawing “the probity of art”, and developed his style – based on the study of Raphael and marked by clarity of line and a cool formality – in fierce opposition to the Romanticism of Eugene Delacroix. His major paintings, which exercised a profound influence on 19th-century French Academic art, include Roger and Angelica 1819 (Louvre, Paris), La Grande Baigneuse 1808 (Louvre, Paris), and La Grande Odalisque 1814 (Louvre, Paris), and the portraits Madame Moitessier 1856 (National Gallery, London) and Francois Marius 1807 (Musee Granet, Aix-en-Provence).
Ingres was the son of a tailor who was also an amateur painter, sculptor and musician. Ingres became a pupil of David, won the Prix de Rome 1801, and studied in Rome and in Florence until 1824. His long absence from Paris, repeated 1834–41 (when he was again in Rome), partly explains his lack of sympathy with French contemporaries, notably Delacroix, who had breathed the atmosphere of Romanticism. Ingres’s view of what was classic in art was founded on Raphael rather than David, as seen in the Vow of Louis XIII (Montauban Cathedral), acclaimed at the Salon of 1824, and the Apotheosis of Homer 1827, commissioned by Charles X for a ceiling in the Louvre.
In subject Ingres was as various as any of his contemporaries, his paintings including a Romantic, moonlit Dream of Ossian 1813 (Musee Ingres, Montauban), both antique and medieval themes, paintings of ceremonial functions, religious paintings, portraits, and nude compositions oriental at least in the suggestion of the title, such as La Grande Odalisque and Le Bain Turc 1863 (Louvre, Paris). His quarrel with the Romantics and the nature of his own Classicism could be simply stated as a preference for drawing rather than colour. His pencil portrait paintings, many executed during his first Italian stay, display his drawing skill. In the painted portrait, such as that of M de Norvins (National Gallery, London) or Mme de Sennones (Musee de Nantes), Ingres produced some masterpiece paintings, while the nude paintings of his later years have a sensuous beauty.
The Musee Ingres in Montauban, founded 1843, received the contents of his studio by bequest, including 4,000 of his drawings and numerous oil paintings.