24 Drawings

24 Drawings

24 Drawings

24 Drawings


JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES was born in Montauban in the south of France in 1780. His first teacher was his father, a provincial artist of varied if not distinguished talents, who early recognized his son's extraordinary gifts. At the age of eleven, Ingres was sent to the Academy in near-by Toulouse. In the spring of 1797 he started for Paris where he entered David's studio, then the most famous one in Europe. In 1799 he was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1800 he won the second prize, one year later the first prize, the Prix de Rome. Because of the unsettled times and the state of the national treasury, it was not until 1806 that he could leave for Italy. He remained in Rome until 1820, first as a pensioner at the Academy of France, later on his own. From 1820 to 1824 he lived in Florence. In 1824 he returned to Paris where he became the central and dominating figure among the Classicists. From 1834 to 1841 he was again in Rome, this time as the Director of the Academy. After his return to Paris in 1841 he left that city only on occasional visits. He never again crossed the borders of France. Ingres' later years were filled with honors. He was made Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, a Member of the Institute and, in 1862, Senator. Vigorous, determined, indefatigable and industrious, he continued to study, draw and paint until his last brief illness in January 1867.

Homer, Virgil and Raphael were his gods; Delacroix and the Romantics his arch-enemies; music, particularly that of Gluck, Haydn and Mozart, his delight, consolation and refreshment.

Considering the length of his life, his paintings are not numerous. He worked slowly, often reworking or repeating his subjects. As he prepared his compositions carefully, studying first all details of placing, movement, contour and costume, his drawings are numerous. The largest number are in the museum of his native town to which he willed several thousand that had accumulated in his studio.

The twenty-four of this portfolio have been selected from nearly two hundred in the private and public collections of this country. They are predominantly portrait drawings, since these he made on order or as gifts, and as such they left his possession. All are in pencil, his preferred medium for the purpose. He used it with a mastery, a delicacy and an individuality that remains unrivalled. In his youth its point was hard, its line sharp, light and impeccable. As the years advanced, he used a softer pencil, drawing fuller, freer strokes. In his portraits the precise line defined not only solid form and firm contour, but through an unfailingly shrewd selection and quiet emphasis, it delineates character and describes those details of costume and gesture which distinguish the individual. His studies of the nude have a largeness of conception, a plenitude of form and a harmonious and flowing control of contour that make Ingres a not unworthy descendant of Raphael. He has become an increasing source of inspiration to the great draughtsmen who have followed him. It is not without significance that several of these drawings belonged to Degas.


Keeper of Drawings Fogg Museum of Art

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