Art e Dossier

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Art History

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: biography

Ingres was born on 29 August 1780 at Montauban. The eldest of five children, he completed his apprenticeship in his father’s atelier. His father, Jean-Marie-Joseph was a decorative sculptor, painter and miniaturist. In 1791 he enrolled in the academy of Toulouse as a pupil of the painter Roques, enthusiastic admirer of Raphael and of the landscape artist Briant. In 1797 Ingres went to Paris and entered David’s atelier where he remained until 1806. In 1800 he won second place in the competition for the Prix de Rome with Scipio and Antioch; the following year he won the sojourn in Italy, but his departure was delayed until 1806. During the interval he painted portraits of Napoleon and of the Rivière family. In 1806 he exhibited his Portrait of Napoleon at the Salon and was criticized even by his teacher, David. In Rome, during October of the following year he began his studies of Raphael and Michelangelo. In 1808 he sent The Valpinçon Bather and Oedipus and the Sphinx to Paris. When his stay at the Villa Medici came to an end, he took a studio in Via Gregoriana. He painted portraits of some illustrious Frenchmen – and women who lived in Rome: Madame Panckoucke, Cordier, Bochet and the Chevalier de Narvins. In 1813 he married Madeleine Chapelle and the same year he painted The Betrothal of Raphael. During those years he dedicated himself to great historic themes (Raphael and the Fornarina, Paolo and Francesca) and many versions of La Grande Odalisque. In 1815 he did a large number of pencil portraits for people passing through Rome. In 1820 he moved to Florence and stayed with his friend, the sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini and that same year he received his first commission from the restoration government, the Vow of Louis XIII. In 1823 he was elected a corresponding member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts of Paris and returned there the following year. In 1825 Charles X gave him the cross of the Legion of Honor and he was elected a full member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and then became a full professor in 1829. Other rewards came during the following years: the cross of officer of the Legion of Honor (1833) and the directorship of the Academy of France in Rome, a position that he maintained until 1841 when he returned to Paris. He received a triumphant welcome and even the king invited him to Versailles. He was given commissions for several portraits and for the stained glass windows in the chapel in Notre Dame de la Compassion in Paris. The year 1846 marked the first time that he participated in a public show at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts, and then the next year, along with Delacroix, he was a member of the committee for the fine arts from which he resigned in 1849, the year his wife died and he was stricken by an eye disease. In 1851 he decided to give a sizeable number of his paintings to the museum of Montauban that was opened the following year. In 1852 he married Delphine Ramel. In 1855, forty-three of his paintings were chosen for the Exposition Universelle of Paris. Between 1858 and 1860 he concentrated on self-portraits. An exhibition of his works was held at Montauban in 1862 and he became a senator. He died on 4 January 1867 and in February of the same year his home town decided to establish the Musée Ingres that was opened to the public in 1869.

The works