The Artist Birthday Series

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

"Portrait of Joseph-Antoine de Nogent," 1815
“Portrait of Joseph-Antoine de Nogent,” 1815

Though he despised such commissions, Ingres’s portraits are among his most admired work. He had a particular talent posing the sitters and captivating the personality with a photographic quality.

"Child In A Chair," 1818
“Child In A Chair,” 1818

Ingres eventually distinguished himself as a master of the “troubadour” genre, fancying himself to paint Medieval and Renaissance subjects in the artistic likeness of each prospective period. An example of his work during this time is Paolo and Francesca which features two ill-fated lovers from Dante’s Inferno. He echoed the simplification and idealized figures of 14th century Italian paintings. Upon submitting to the 1819 Salon, shortsighted critics again attacked his work, this time with claims that Ingres purposely took art back to its infancy.

"Paolo E Francesca,"
“Paolo E Francesca,” 1819

Also exhibited into the same Salon was what was to become one of his most famous works, La Grande Odalisque. Though Inges was obviously taking a cue from the great Italian Mannerists, critics of the day were outraged by the painting’s presence in the Salon. Once again Ingres’ subtle modeling was attacked. His “perverse desires for distorted anatomy,” as seen by the elongation of her back made her an “unknown creature.”

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