b. 1780 Montauban, France, d. 1867 Paris
Squat and small in stature and with a commonplace outward appearance, which is quite at odds with the affected elegance of his works and his Olympian propensities. One would at first take him for a retired businessman. --Art critic Théophile Silvestre
For years at Salon exhibitions, Parisian critics condemned Ingres's paintings as "Gothic" because his classicism was different from that of his teacher, Jacques-Louis David. Ingres won the Prix de Rome in 1801. A lifelong admirer of both Raphael and ancient art, he adored Italy. While residing in Rome, he often lived hand-to-mouth, surviving by drawing graceful pencil portraits of wealthy French people on holiday. He returned to Paris in 1824 to find his Vow of Louis XIII applauded by critics. Compared with the free brushwork and brilliant color of newcomer Eugéne Delacroix, Ingres's elegant paintings suddenly seemed more palatable. From that point on, Ingres was generally honored by both the government and the artistic establishment. He was awarded commissions and assumed authority in the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Eventually, his sincere belief in the supremacy of line over color and his own polished style mutated into dictatorship. "Touch," said Ingres, "is the device of charlatans to show their skill with the brush."
Duke of Alba
French, Rome, 1815
Study for Dress
French, Paris, 1851