Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres [1780-1867]

Self Portrait
French Neoclassical painter

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

was born,
August 29, 1780
in Montauban, in southern France

A man profoundly respectful of the past, he assumed the role of a guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his nemesis Eugene Delacroix. His exemplars, he once explained, were

“the great masters which flourished in that century of glorious memory when Raphael set the eternal and incontestable bounds of the sublime in art … I am thus a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator.”

Although he considered himself a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, it is his portraits, both painted and drawn, that are recognized as his greatest legacy. His expressive distortions of form and space made him an important precursor of modern art, influencing Picasso, Matisse and other modernists.

So here’s a glimpse of his work & words
Mme. Moitessier

“One must keep right on drawing; draw with your eyes when you cannot draw with a pencil.”

Virgil reading The Aeneid before Augustus, Octavia and Livia

“Better gray than garishness.”

The Source

“The chief consideration for a good painter is to think out the whole of his picture, to have it in his head as a whole… so that he may then execute it with warmth and as if the entire thing were done at the same time.”

The Princesse de Broglie, née Joséphine-Eléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn

“Drawing includes three and a half quarters of the content of painting… Drawing contains everything, except the hue.”

Roger Delivrant Angelique

“The exhibition has now become no more than a bazaar where mediocrity spreads itself out with impudence. The exhibitions are useless and dangerous… they ought to be abolished.”

Portrait of Monsieur Bertin

“Muscles I know; they are my friends. But I have forgotten their names.”

Academic Study of a Male Torso

“Make copies, young man, many copies. You can only become a good artist by copying the masters.”

L’Odalisque et l’esclave

“As long as you do not hold a balance between your seeing of things and your execution, you will do nothing that is really good.”

Portrait of Charles Marcotte

“Fine and delicate taste is the fruit of education and experience.”

Portrait of Baronne de Rothschild

“It takes 25 years to learn to draw, one hour to learn to paint.”

Oedipus and the Sphinx

“You have to observe flowers in order to find the right tones for the folds of clothes.”

Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville

“There is true color, there is nature without exaggeration, without forced brilliance! He is exact.”

Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne

“Is there anyone among the great men who has not imitated? Nothing is made with nothing.”

Madame Duvaucey

“The way good inventions are made is to familiarize yourself with those of others. The men who cultivate letters and the arts are all sons of Homer.”

La Grande Odalisque

“A painter can turn pennies into gold, for all subjects are capable of being transformed into poems.”

The Vow of Louis XIII

“Drawing is the honesty of art.”

Madame Jacques-Louis Leblanc (Françoise Poncelle, 1788–1839)

“Do not concern yourself with other people. Concern yourself with your own work alone.”

The Grande Baigneuse, also called The Valpinçon Bather

“Draw lines – draw a lot of lines”

Mademoiselle Jeanne-Suzanne-Catherine Gonin


Self Portraits

Ingres’s well-known passion for playing the violin gave rise to a common expression in the French language, “violon d’Ingres”. He was an amateur violin player from his youth, and played for a time as second violinist for the orchestra of Toulouse. When he was Director of the French Academy in Rome, he played frequently with the music students and guest artists. Charles Gounod, who was a student under Ingres at the Academy, merely noted that “he was not a professional, even less a virtuoso”. Along with the student musicians, he performed Beethoven string quartets with Niccolò Paganini. In an 1839 letter, Franz Liszt described his playing as “charming”, and planned to play through all the Mozart and Beethoven violin sonatas with Ingres. Liszt also dedicated his transcriptions of the 5th and 6th symphonies of Beethoven to Ingres on their original publication in 1840.

So here is Franz Liszt Piano Transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, S. 464 “Pastoral”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Franz Liszt Piano Transcription

piano: Glenn Gould


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Violinsonate F Dur KV 376

violin: Anne Sophie Mutterpiano: Lambert Orkis

For more information on Ingres:!?q=Ingres


Be Safe

42 replies »

  1. He painted like he was a camera.
    Then, the camera was invented!
    Beautiful portraits!
    Thank you, again, Marina!
    xoxo🧽xoxo🧽xoxo 🎨xoxo🧽xoxo🧽xoxo 🎨xoxo🧽xoxo🧽xoxo 🎨
    xoxo🧽xoxo🧽xoxo 🎨xoxo🧽xoxo🧽xoxo 🎨xoxo🧽xoxo🧽xoxo 🎨

  2. These are awesome. Recognize most of the paintings and I think I actually saw one of the drawings after it became a painting at the National Gallery in Ottawa? Maybe? Maybe not?

    The part about his violin playing reminds me of myself in all of my musical endeavors! In Junior Strings the teacher singled me out to play my cello, not for my technical proficiency but for my vibrato and feel. Other students could read music better but were robotic… I didn’t last very long in junior strings. Actually faked it a lot of the time because I was doing other things instead of practicing !!! The funny thing is, our instructor told us to fake it during performances if we couldn’t hit the right notes. Better silence than discord, I guess! 🙂

    Love “The Source” but several others really are top-notch. Your writing too seems to have hit a new peak. Nice. 🙂

  3. People have pointed out about “La Grande Odalisque” that the woman has more than the normal number of vertebrae in her backbone. Wikipedia gets specific: “Stemming from the initial criticism the painting received, the figure in “Grande Odalisque” is thought to be drawn with ‘two or three vertebrae too many.’ Critics at the time believed the elongations to be errors on the part of Ingres, but recent studies show the elongations to have been deliberate distortions. Measurements taken on the proportions of real women showed that Ingres’s figure was drawn with a curvature of the spine and rotation of the pelvis impossible to replicate. It also showed the left arm of the odalisque is shorter than the right. The study concluded that the figure was longer by five instead of two or three vertebrae and that the excess affected the lengths of the pelvis and lower back instead of merely the lumbar region.”

    Wikipedia quotes Kenneth Clark as saying that “The Source” has been described as “the most beautiful figure in French painting.”

    • Which part of: ‘it’s ART’ do they not understand, I wonder. 🤣 She may be reptilian for all I care, it’s a gorgeous painting! Still, fun reading all this trivia. …and I agree with K.C. ! 😉

      • You said it well: “She may be reptilian for all I care….” To be fair, the Wikipedia article also noted that Ingres’ “expressive distortions of form and space made him an important precursor of modern art, influencing Picasso, Matisse and other modernists.

        • 😉 Wikipedia is a great source of information [which I also use a lot]. But the best art critic in the world won’t guide me how to ‘look’ at a painting. They can point out some things that otherwise the viewer wouldn’t know but that’s as far as they’ll go. If you ask 1000 people how they see and what they feel from a painting, you’ll hear 1000 different descriptions! 😉

  4. Le gasp! His portraits are photos from the past.
    That is the most intriguing portrait I’ve ever seen of Napoleon I.
    Now, I know he did not go to the art supply store, or did he?
    How did they get canvases, paint & brushes? Hmm,1800’s… there may have been a shoppe.
    You have shown older here. Did they make their own paint?

    Meanwhile, I’m drawing Art Gowns. (Did you see the email with Daffodil Marina?)

    The music is wonderful, thank you!
    Love pets for Hera!!!


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