Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique 1780–1867, French painter, b. Montauban; son of a sculptor. He studied with J. L. David in Paris and in 1801 won the Prix de Rome. The French government could not afford to award the prize until 1806. In the Salon of that year Ingres exhibited his portrait of Madame Rivière (Louvre), an extraordinarily graceful and linear composition that marked him as an unparalleled draftsman. It also made clear his sensitivity, which put him at odds with the strict neoclassicists of his day. This bizarre element in Ingres's work was made more disturbingly explicit in Jupiter and Thetis (1811; Musée Granet). For 18 years (1806–24) he lived in Italy, where he supported himself and his family by portraiture. Some of his pencil portraits of this period are considered among his finest productions (e.g., Paganini, 1819). Upon his return to Paris he was hailed the bulwark of Davidian classicism for his Vow of Louis XIII (cathedral, Montauban), although his true inspiration had always been Raphael. He lived in Paris until 1834, receiving many commissions and honors and returning to Rome as director of the Académie de France à Rome. There, during the remainder of his long life, he occupied a preeminent position as teacher and artist.
After his death the Ingres Museum, housing a large collection of his paintings and drawings, was instituted in his native Montauban. His followers, the Ingristes, adopted his academicism but lacked his genius. Many later artists (e.g., Degas, Renoir, Puvis de Chavannes, and Picasso) have acknowledged their debt to him. The Louvre has a large collection of his work, ranging from rigidly academic compositions like The Apotheosis of Homer (1827) to the intimate, sensual nudes such as Bather of Valpinçon (1808) and The Turkish Bath (1852–63). Several of his paintings are in the Metropolitan Museum. There is a remarkable portrait of the comtesse d'Haussonville (1845) in the Frick Collection, New York City.
Used with permission. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001 Columbia University Press
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