The Duke of Alba Receiving the Pope's Blessing in the Cathedral of Sainte-Gudule, Brussels

Object Details


The Duke of Alba Receiving the Pope's Blessing in the Cathedral of Sainte-Gudule, Brussels


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780 - 1867)






Pen and brown ink, and brown wash, heightened with white gouache, with black and red chalk and graphite


Sheet: 43 × 52.9 cm (16 15/16 × 20 13/16 in.)

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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres made this drawing either as a preparatory sketch or as a presentation drawing for a commission that he accepted in 1815 because he was financially strapped. The fourteenth Duke of Alba ordered a painting to commemorate the third Duke of Alba, also known as the "Butcher of Flanders." Here the infamous ancestor receives a hat and sword blessed by the pope for suppressing Protestant heresy in the Netherlands. As the governor-general of the Netherlands from 1567 to 1573, the duke had formed the Council of Troubles, nicknamed the "Council of Blood," which condemned some 12,000 Protestant rebels to death.

The drawing took many hours to make, including constructing a complicated cut-out replacement to correct the architectural background. Despite reworking the picture into a red-dominated composition symbolizing a bloodbath, Ingres, repulsed, abandoned the painting in 1819. He later said that the painting remained a sketch-"as God had wished." Edgar Degas, a great admirer of Ingres, once owned the unfinished canvas. During World War II, Hermann Goering acquired the painting; at war's end it went to the Musée Ingres at Montauban, France.


Etienne-François Haro, 1827 - 1897, Paris


M. d'Espréménil, Paris (before 1860)


Baron Maurice (Edmond Charles) de Rothschild, Austrian, 1881 - 1957, Paris (before 1934)


Georges Wildenstein, Paris (before 1936)


Wildenstein & Co. (London)


Rothschild Family, London


Paul Rosenberg, New York


Huguette Berès, Paris

Tableaux tirés de collections d'amateurs et exposés au profit de la caisse de secours des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, architects et dessinateurs (1860) (332)
  • Unknown, 1860
Dessins d'Ingres tiré de collections d'amateurs (1861) (21)
  • Salon des Arts-Unis (Paris), 1861
Catalogue des tableaux, études peintes, dessins et croquis de J.-A.-D. Ingres (1867) (205)
  • Ecole Impériale des Beaux-Arts (Paris), 1867
Ingres-Delacroix, dessins pastels et aquarelles (1936) (43)
  • Palais des beaux-arts (Brussels), 1936
In Pursuit of Perfection: The Art of J.-A.-D. Ingres (1983) (26; catalogue edited by D. Edelstein)
  • Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth), 1983
  • J.B. Speed Art Museum (Louisville), 1983
The Compositional Drawing from the 16th to the 19th Century (April 16 to June 30, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), April 16 to June 30, 1996
Figural Compositional Drawings from the 16th to the 19th Century (August 31 to December 8, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), August 31 to December 8, 1996
Figure Drawings (December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997
Raphael and his Influence Across the Centuries (October 31, 2000 to January 7, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 31, 2000 to January 7, 2001