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Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Neoclassical Romantic Painter


Ingres, Self-portrait.jpg


Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Neoclassical Romantic Painter  occupies a unique place in the History of French Art. While most of his contemporaries( and the Impressionists  that were to follow) were “pushing the envelope” trying new styles, new methods of artistic expression, Ingres was intentionally “regressing.”

Although he today is regarded as a “neoclassical romantic” painter, Ingres saw himself, to use his words, as a “conservator” of past classic traditions. He was particularly influenced by the Renaissance painter, Raphael.

In common with most French Artists, Ingres began his artistic developement at an early age. Encouraged by his Father. Who, among other skills was a miniature portraitist. After a series of schools, Ingres was awarded the Prix du Rome. From that point on, as we would say today: “He never looked back.”

The Web Museum of Paris continues the History of Neoclassical Romantic Painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres:

After an early academic training in the Toulouse academy he went to Paris in 1796 and was a fellow student of Gros inDavid‘s studio. He won the Prix de Rome in 1801, but owing to the state of France’s economy he was not awarded the usual stay in Rome until 1807. In the interval he produced his first portraits. These fall into two catagories: portraits of himself and his friends, conceived in a Romantic spirit (Gilibert, Musée Ingres, Montauban, 1805), and portraits of well-to-do clients which are characterized by purity of line and enamel-like coloring (Mlle Rivière, Louvre, Paris, 1805). These early portraits are notable for their calligraphic line and expressive contour, which had a sensuous beauty of its own beyond its function to contain and delineate form. It was a feature that formed the essential basis of Ingres’s painting throughout his life.

ImageThe Valpincon Bather
1808 (140 Kb); Oil on canvas, 146 x 97.5 cm (57 1/2 x 41 1/8 in); Louvre, Paris

During his first years in Rome he continued to execute portraits and began to paint bathers, a theme which was to become one of his favorites (The Valpinçon Bather, Louvre, Paris, 1808). He remained in Rome when his four-year scholarship ended, earning his living principally by pencil portraits of members of the French colony. But he also received more substantial commissions, including two decorative paintings for Napoleon’s palace in Rome (Triumph of Romulus over Acron, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1812; and Ossian’s Dream, Musée Ingres, 1813). In 1820 he moved from Rome to Florence, where he remained for 4 years, working mainly on his Raphaelesque Vow of Louis XIII, commissioned for the cathedral of Montauban. Ingres’s work had often been severely criticized in Paris because of its `Gothic’ distortions, and when he accompanied this painting to the Salon of 1824 he was surprised to find it acclaimed and himself set up as the leader of the academic opposition to the new Romanticism. (Delacroix‘s Massacre of Chioswas shown at the same Salon.)

Ingres stayed in Paris for the next ten years and received the official success and honors he had always craved. During this period he devoted much of his time to executing two large works: The Apotheosis of Homer, for a ceiling in the Louvre (installed 1827), and The Martyrdom of St Symphorian (Salon, 1834) for the cathedral of Autun. When the latter painting was badly received, however, he accepted the Directorship of the French School in Rome, a post he retained for 7 years. He was a model administrator and teacher, greatly improving the school’s facilities, but he produced few major works in this period. In 1841 he returned to France, once again acclaimed as the champion of traditional values. He was heartbroken when his wife died in 1849, but he made a successful second marriage in 1852, and he continued working with great energy into his 80s. One of his acknowledged masterpieces, the extraordinarily sensuous Turkish Bath (Louvre, 1863), dates from the last years of his life. At his death he left a huge bequest of his work (several paintings and more than 4,000 drawings) to his home town of Montauban and they are now in the museum bearing his name there.

Read more about The Neoclassic Romanticism of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres HERE.