Yet again, Ingres’ education was impeded, this time because the French treasury, drained by the Napoleon Wars, could not fund his studies. During the time he was stuck in Paris, Ingres began his careen as a portraitist. In 1806 he submitted his sumptuous Napoleon on His Imperial Throne in the Salon. It proved a controversial piece. Critics commented on the stiffness and the flatness of his figures claiming his “primitive” style was gothic.
Shortly afterward Ingres was able to go to Italy, where he would follow his own artistic impulses. He sent his works back to the officials at the École in Paris. Perhaps envy, fueled by Ingres’ natural skill, was the motivation behind the negative reaction from the rigid and formulaic academic critics, but again, his work was heavily criticized. They were opposed to his “linear severity” in both Valpincon Bather and Oedipus and the Sphinx. They opposed his modeling (or lack thereof) and anatomical distortions of his figures in Jupiter and Thetis.
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