Ingres

Ingres

Ingres

Ingres

Excerpt

IN A WORLD AS CHANGING AS OURS IS TODAY WE PARTICUlarly need to know what Goethe called "the things that are permanent." Never have they had more consistent homage than that of Ingres, and never have the classical qualities more clearly proved by results their continuing power to renew the genius of mankind. Therefore this first book written in English on a painter who gave fervent study to the past is above all a document on modern art, its origin and purpose. The Greeks were the moderns of their day; Ingres, in similar fashion, was necessary to his period; both reach out to times quite infinitely beyond their own. They demonstrate to us by their works the way in which the arts are essential in character -- which is to say modern.

Incomparably the best testimony on such questions is that of the artists themselves, and so I offer at the outset an incident which proves the position of Ingres in the world of today. In 1875, when the master was looked on with suspicion by the great young men who saw the vital influence of the time in his rival, Delacroix, a copy of that painter's Jewish Wedding , in the Louvre was commissioned from Renoir, himself one of the "revolutionaries" whose art was formed above all under the influence of Delacroix.

Yet each time that he left his easel for a rest and a stroll in the gallery, he found himself drawn, and always more strongly, to the pictures by Ingres, who became the special guide of his work in its next period. To the end of his career Renoir remained unswervingly faithful to Delacroix, whom he considered, indeed, the greatest painter of the French school. And so, his being fascinated by the man regarded as . . .

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