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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter who thought of himself as a painter of history and who today is highly regarded for his many portraits.

Critics often found his style bizarre and archaic, his expressive distortions of form and space make him an important precursor of modern art,  as his work influenced Picasso and Matisse and other modernists.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Masterpieces

  • The Valpinçon Bather
    • “The Valpinçon Bather” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is a female nude in a chaste pose. The curves accentuate her neck and the curves of her back and legs in the green draperies. With the white linen in front of her and the folds of the bed sheets, this painting lacks the overt sexuality of other Ingres paintings. Ingres has masterfully depicted a calm and measured sensuality, which is a masterpiece of harmony and light. Ingres returned to the form of this figure several times in his life. Museum: The Louvre
  • The Turkish Bath
    • “The Turkish Bath” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicts a group of nude women in the bath of a harem and is painted in a highly erotic style. Ingres has successfully evoked the form of both the Near East and earlier western styles associated with the mythological subject matter. Painted originally in a rectangular format, Ingres altered the painting by cutting the picture to its present tondo form. Fortunately, photographs of the art in its original size have survived. Museum: The Louvre
  • Grande Odalisque
    • “Grande Odalisque” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicts an odalisque. An odalisque was a chambermaid or attendant in the sequestered living quarters used by wives, court ladies and concubines in an Ottoman household of the Ottoman sultan. Grande Odalisque attracted extensive criticism when it was first exhibited. It became renowned for the elongated proportions and departure from the restrictions of anatomical realism. This work signified Ingres’ break from Neoclassicism and shifted towards exotic Romanticism. Ingres favoured long lines to convey curvature and sensuality and the very skilful use of light and shadow to sculpture proportions. Museum: The Louvre
  • Madame Moitessier ( The National Gallery, London)
    • “Madame Moitessier” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is a portrait of Marie-Clotilde-Inès Moitessier (née de Foucauld) begun in 1844 but not completed until twelve years later. Madame Moitessier (1821–1897) was the daughter of a French civil servant who married a wealthy banker and merchant, who was a widower twice her age. In this painting, she is shown wearing abundant jewellery and dressed in an elegant silk dress with a floral pattern, which is echoed by the flowers and leaves of the gilt-framed mirrors. Madame Moitessier is framed on either side by mirrors, and her profile reflection can be seen on the mirror on the right. Museum:   The National Gallery, London
  • Madame Moitessier (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)
    • “Madame Moitessier” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is a portrait of Marie-Clotilde-Inès Moitessier (née de Foucauld) completed in 1851 which depicts the subject standing in a black dress looking directly at the viewer. Madame Moitessier (1821–1897) was the daughter of a French civil servant who married a wealthy banker and merchant, who was a widower twice her age. Museum: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • Ruggiero Freeing Angelica
    • “Ruggiero Freeing Angelica” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was inspired by the 16th-century Italian epic poem called “Orlando Furioso” by Ariosto and depicted Ruggiero saving Angelica. Ruggiero is portrayed as the knight riding a hippogriff, which is a legendary creature half horse and half eagle. According to the poem, the hero is riding near Brittany’s coast, where he finds a beautiful woman, who is chained to rock on the Isle of Tears. She has been abducted and stripped naked by barbarians who have left her there as a human sacrifice to a sea monster. Museum: The Louvre

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Explore the Artists and their Art

Reflections

  • Where his expressive distortions of form and space an important precursor of modern art?

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Quotes

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“Is there anyone among the great men who have not imitated? Nothing is made with nothing.”

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“Make copies, young man, many copies. You can only become a good artist by copying the masters.”

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“What do these so-called artists mean when they preach the discovery of the’new’?
Is there anything new? Everything has been done; everything has been discovered.”

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“You have to observe flowers to find the right tones for the folds of clothes.”

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“It takes 25 years to learn to draw, one hour to learn to paint.”

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“Is there anyone among the great men who have not imitated? Nothing is made with nothing.”
– Ingres

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Photo Credit 1) Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres [Public domain]

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