Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

French painter Jean-Auguste Ingres was a prominent member of the Neoclassical movement. His strengths included superb draftsmanship, focused insight into personality, and a single dedication to Neoclassical line and style, which perfectly suited Ingres to painting portraits. Despite these facts, Ingres considered himself a painter of history, like the painters who inspired him.

Ingres s father was an unsuccessful sculptor and painter, but instilled a love for art into his son from birth. Ingres studied painting with Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David in Paris, and soon Ingres was awarded the coveted Prix de Rome in 1801. Moving to Rome, Ingres honed his skills in drawing and design and was greatly influenced by Raphael, Italian Renaissance master. Ingres returned to Paris, impassioned against the new Romantic Movement, and became a spokesman against the movement. As one of the most celebrated painters in France and an academic spokesman, Ingres was awarded the Legion d Honneur in 1847.

In all his paintings, not only in his many portraits of women, Ingres is said to have constantly sought after the pure form of his models. For example, one of his mythological paintings, La Grande Odalisque shows exaggerated, elongated features, reminiscent of the 16th century Mannerist painters. His sensually elegant way of depicting his models is always present, such as in La Sorgente. Above all, Ingres remained devoted to the clean, Neoclassical painting style, even if it meant that his paintings would not be well received.

Ingres painted until the end of his life; his superb depiction of the female nude, The Bather of Valpincon, was painted when he was 82 years old.

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