Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

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Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique

Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique (zhäN ōgüstˈ dômēnēkˈ ăNˈgrə), 1780–1867, French painter, b. Montauban; son of a sculptor. He studied with J. L. David in Paris and in 1801 won the Prix de Rome. The French government could not afford to award the prize until 1806. In the Salon of that year Ingres exhibited his portrait of Madame Rivière (Louvre), an extraordinarily graceful and linear composition that marked him as an unparalleled draftsman. It also made clear his sensitivity, which put him at odds with the strict neoclassicists of his day. This bizarre element in Ingres's work was made more disturbingly explicit in Jupiter and Thetis (1811; Musée Granet). For 18 years (1806–24) he lived in Italy, where he supported himself and his family by portraiture. Some of his pencil portraits of this period are considered among his finest productions (e.g., Paganini, 1819). Upon his return to Paris he was hailed the bulwark of Davidian classicism for his Vow of Louis XIII (cathedral, Montauban), although his true inspiration had always been Raphael. He lived in Paris until 1834, receiving many commissions and honors and returning to Rome as director of the Académie de France à Rome. There, during the remainder of his long life, he occupied a preeminent position as teacher and artist. After his death the Ingres Museum, housing a large collection of his paintings and drawings, was instituted in his native Montauban. His followers, the Ingristes, adopted his academicism but lacked his genius. Many later artists (e.g., Degas, Renoir, Puvis de Chavannes, and Picasso) have acknowledged their debt to him. The Louvre has a large collection of his work, ranging from rigidly academic compositions like The Apotheosis of Homer (1827) to the intimate, sensual nudes such as Bather of Valpinçon (1808) and The Turkish Bath (1852–63). Several of his paintings are in the Metropolitan Museum. There is a remarkable portrait of the comtesse d'Haussonville (1845) in the Frick Collection, New York City.


See Ingres Centennial Exhibition (1967); studies by J. Whitely (1981) and R. Rosenblum (1985).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique


Born Aug. 29, 1780, in Montauban; died Jan. 14, 1867, in Paris. French painter, graphic artist, and musician.

Ingres was a pupil of J. L. David. He also studied the violin. In his youth, Ingres served in the episcopal chapel in Montauban and performed as a soloist in the orchestra of the municipal theater in Toulouse. From 1806 to 1824 he lived and worked in Italy, studying the art of the Renaissance, especially the paintings of Raphael in Rome. He was director of the French Academy in Rome from 1834 to 1841.

Ingres painted scenes on literary, historical, and religious subjects, for example, Jupiter and Thetis (1811, Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence), The Vow of Louis XIII (1824, Montauban Cathedral), Oedipus and the Sphinx (1827, Louvre), The Apotheosis of Homer (1827, Louvre), and The Turkish Bath (1862–63, Louvre). His detailed, penetrating portraits include Madame Devau-cay (1807, Musée Conde, Chantilly), three portraits of members of the Riviere family (1805, Louvre), L. Benin (1832, Louvre), and Madame Moitessier (1851, National Gallery, Washington, D.C.). Valpincon Bather (1818, Louvre) and La Grande Odalisque (1814, Louvre) are among his well-known nudes. He also executed portraits of N. Paganini, C. Gounod, F. Liszt, and other music figures.

Many of Ingres’s works, especially his early paintings, reveal a subtle palette of harmoniously clear, light shades. However, his style is noted mainly for its precise, supple, and expressive linear composition. Ingres produced numerous brilliant pencil portraits, most of which are housed at the Ingres Museum in Montauban. The classical tendencies in his works had a considerable influence on the development of academicism in French art. Ingres also studied problems of music education and voice training.


Ecritssurl’art. Paris, 1947.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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