Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

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Vow of Louis XIII

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a highly successful and established painter. He was born in Montauban, in the Tarn et Garonne region of France. His Father was a painter, sculptor and violinist, and he taught Ingres all of these disciplines. In 1791, Ingres entered the Royal Academy of Arts in Toulouse, where he studied art, under the artist Joseph Roques and sculpture J.Vignan. In 1797, he moved to Paris, where he entered the studio of Jacques-Louis David. He was to go on to become a neoclassical painter, a major portrait painter of the 19th century, as well as an Orientalist.

In 1801, he won the Prix de Rome with his Ambassadeurs d’Agamemnon. He delayed his departure for Italy until 1806, where he remained until 1824. He then spent the last four years in Florence. Ingres adored Italy and was a life long admirer of Raphael. During his time in Italy, Ingres had a number of financial problems and was often forced to live hand to mouth, surviving by drawing portraits of wealthy French people on holiday.

Madame Ingres

Upon his return to Paris, Ingres received the Croix de Legion de Honneur and was elected to the Institute of France. He also received a number of official commissions, including one to paint the Opotheosis of Homer on a ceiling of the Louvre and The Martyrdom of St. Symphorian for the Cathedral of Autun. He was, however, at the same time a violent opponent of the emerging Romantic movement in the world of art.

In 1825, Ingres opened a studio, which was attended by young artists such as, Amaury-Duval, Flandrin, Ziegler, and Chasseriau. Ingres was appointed the Director of the Villa de Medici in Rome and remained there from1835 to 1840. During these years in Rome, Ingres executed numerous portraits and also became very popular in official circles, which meant that he received a large number of commissions for large scale decorative works, as well as smaller literary and genre scenes.

Adam and Eve

Despite the fact that he only traveled in Europe, Ingres has been labeled an Orientalist due to his interest in overtly unclassical and exotic themes. He was particularly taken with depicting the odalisque in his paintings, which was a female slave, or concubine, in the harems of the Middles East. Whilst in Rome in 1813, he was commissioned by the Queen of Naples, who was the sister of Napoleon to produce the famous painting La Grande Odalisque. Paintings showing the odalisque were produced time and time again by Ingres, but his artistic talent was at its best when portraying woman in all forms, which included portraits and nudes. He particularly liked to portray the odalisque in the Turkish bath. He had no first hand experience on which to draw on, and he therefore sought documentary evidence in the form of traveller’s accounts, especially the letters of Mary Wortley Montague describing the interior of the baths at Andrianopolis.

Grande Odalisque

He particularly liked to portray the Odalisque in the Turkish Bath. He had no first hand experience on which to draw on. He therefore sought documentary evidence in the form of traveller’s accounts, and especially the letters of Mary Wortley Montague describing the interior of the baths at Andrianopolis.

The Louvre has a number of paintings of the Odalisque, including

Une Odalisque

, which was produced in 1814 and the Odalisque and the Slave. The painting, which is considered to be his masterpiece,

The Turkish Bath

, 1862 also hangs in the Louvre.

Odalisque and Slave

Turkish Bath

After his death, he left a huge bequest of his work to his home town of Montauban and are now in a museum bearing his name. Ingres was unique in the sense that he was an Orientalist painter who never visited the Orient.

Jupiter and Thetis

Untitled

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