Art Wednesday

(Madam Ingres, 1859) 

Jean Aguste Dominique Ingres: 1780-1867

French Neoclassical painter (a period of severe and unemotional form of art harkening back to the grandeur of ancient Greece and Rome).

Born in France, his father was an artist (not successful) who encouraged Ingres to draw and play music.  He studied in both Paris and Rome and from the beginning of his career, Ingres freely borrowed from earlier art, adopting the historical style appropriate to his subject, leading critics to charge him with plundering the past.  Ingres's style was formed early in life and changed comparatively little, he abhorred the visible brushstroke, he was rarely successful in the depiction of movement and drama and although capable of painting quickly, he often laboured for years over a painting.

He painted 450 portraits in his lifetime.

One things I particularly like about Ingres' paintings is the way he does the fabrics of the clothes these women are wearing - the  richness of the fabrics, the way the fabric folds and bends, the shine and the textures - aren't they just beautiful - you can tell by looking at them that the materials are luxurious and expensive. I could almost reach out and touch them.  I also think there is some serenity about these women, look at their mouths and eyes. I wonder what they are thinking - these rich and powerful women.
Princesse Albert de Broglie, née Joséphine-Eléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn
Louise de Broglie, Countesse d'Haussonville, 1845
Portrait of Madame Moitessier Sitting, 1856
Napolean, 1860

Madame Antonia Devaucay de Nittis
 Madame Moitessier
There is a famous nude painting by Ingres (The Valpincon Bather, 1808) which shows the back of a nake woman that I have no included but one that he is best known for.  It is one of my favourite Ingres paintings as it is so beautifully done. Nude painting was popular among artists and many of Ingres nudes have the look of ancient Greece and Rome.


  1. "He abhorred the visible brushstroke." I think that is what makes his painting so great. I agree with you about the textures of the fabric - awesome. I wonder if looking at one of his paintings more closely (or in real life) if there would be wrinkles or blemishes on the women. The fabrics look so real, but the smoothness of the skin takes away something of the "realness" or maybe it adds a little drama.

    Thank you again for a wonderful lesson. It's also interesting to see the way the ladies dressed at the time

  2. If only they would have been smiling in the paintings!! I'm not a fan of the way their hair was often pulled back so severely, either! :P
    That's a LOT of portraits to do - and so amazing that he sometimes took years to complete them!
    To me, none of these women appear to be particularly slender (would you agree?) - today slender is beautiful... obviously back then ample, voluptuous figure was favoured more highly.

  3. Very beautiful paintings , thanks for sharing.

  4. Mrs Santos - I am quite sure think these women didn’t have perfectly smooth skin, especially during this period in history so I think some beautifying has taken place – the Photoshop of the era. No painter would paint someone rich and famous and not help their beauty along. Ingres painted royalty and they were known to request improvements to their looks e.g. cleaner teeth.

    Clara - women at those times were not stick thin, they looked healthy. I don't mind the hair bt I doubt in "real life" it sat quite so flat!

  5. Imagine how long it must have taken to get dressed in the morning!! Even with servants to help.

  6. The nude is the only one I recognize. It is very realistic. There is something not quite natural about each set of lips? Or is that just me? As you say, the dresses are gorgeous!

  7. I don't mind the lips Ruby, but the hands worry me a bit - not that I could paint hands at all!!!

  8. The nude is the only one I recognised too. The rest leaves a little to be desired. There's a flatness to the work, but I agree the lips & eyes are quite serene. Interesting period. Napolene looks like a sulky spoilt little boy ~ which I guess in many ways he was. lol


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