Never did beauty more regal, more magnificent, more stately, and of a more Junoesque type, offer its proud lines to the tremulous pencil of an artist.
Thus wrote critic Théophile Gautier after watching Inès Moitessier pose for this portrait. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres painted four oil portraits of her and made multiple drawings at many sittings. He made this drawing and six other preparatory studies for an early portrait.
Both a realist and a classicist, Ingres gave his sitter cool, idealized features recalling the smooth, balanced proportions of ancient marble sculpture. In contrast to the detail of her expressionless face, he broadly indicated the hair's abstract shape and lightly sketched in the outlines of the surrounding flowers with reminder notes of appropriate colors.
Edgar Degas, a great admirer of Ingres, once owned this drawing.