Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

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Self-portrait, 1804, Musée Condé, Chantilly
Signature of the artist

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres [ ɛ̃ːgʀ ] (born August 29, 1780 in Montauban , † January 14, 1867 in Paris ) was a French painter and one of the most important representatives of official art in France in the 19th century.

Ingres studied with Jacques-Louis David and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1801 he won the prestigious Prix ​​de Rome with the painting Achilles receives the supplication of Agamemnon , but was subsequently unable to build on this success. In 1806 he took up the Rome Scholarship associated with the award and stayed in Italy after it ended. His works from this period often met with severe criticism. Ingres did not return to France until 1824 as a result of his success at the Salon de Paris and became a recognized artist of his time. In 1825 the King awarded him the Cross of the Legion of Honor , and in 1829 he was appointed professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. After a failure in the Salon of 1834, Ingres decided not to exhibit there in the future and returned to Rome in 1835 as director of the Académie de France à Rome . After the end of his tenure there he returned in 1841 and continued teaching at the École des Beaux-Arts, ten years later he was given the post of director. In the last years of his life, Ingres attached particular importance to his artistic oeuvre and the consolidation of his fame. In 1851 he began to found the Musée Ingres dedicated to him in his hometown with donations , to which he also bequeathed many paintings and drawings of himself and with connections to him.

Ingres was a representative of classicism and was particularly in strong competition with Eugène Delacroix as a painter of French Romanticism . In contrast to the painting style represented by Delacroix, Ingres was celebrated as the keeper of tradition. However, his works also showed anticipation of modernity. He often subordinated the representation of reality to his own ideas, which often led to inaccuracies in perspective and anatomically impossible representations. Ingres criticism interpreted these subjective influences in the work as inability. Ingres made history paintings , portraits and nudes , for which he usually made a large number of preliminary drawings. There are also independent drawings. He himself regarded his histories as the most important group in his work, to which he could not devote himself as much as he wanted, especially in his early years due to the need to earn a living. He was also a sought-after portrait painter, who painted many important personalities of his time. His most important and best known works include The Turkish Bath , The Great Bathers , Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne , The Apotheosis of Homer and Antiochus and Stratonice . Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres exerted a great influence on the artists of his time and subsequent generations of artists. His works have been received by Pablo Picasso , Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Cindy Sherman , among others .


childhood and education

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was born on August 29, 1780 in the southern French city of Montauban as the oldest of seven siblings. His father Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres (1754–1814) was a painter, sculptor, miniaturist, architect and plasterer and in 1790 also became a member of the Toulouse Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture . Even if the traditional works of Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres are rather conventional and he was only of regional importance, Jean-Auguste-Dominique judged his father extremely positively and attested to him in later years that if he had had the opportunities, the he offered his son who could have become the most important artist of his time in France. At the age of ten, Ingres painted his first portraits of family members in his father's workshop, copied old paintings, reproductions of which were hanging in the house, and drew plaster casts of ancient sculptures. Already at this time he got to know the tradition of the profile portrait of Charles-Nicolas Cochin (1715–1790) and the Physionotrace , a forerunner of photography , and thus came into contact with the problem of image and reality early in his life. In addition to his drawing and painting training, Ingres also received music lessons from his father and thus learned to play the violin . In addition to his own training, his father arranged for his son to continue his artistic training. In 1791, at the age of eleven, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres began studying at the Art Academy in Toulouse, of which his father was a member. There the painter Joseph Roques (1757–1847), the landscape painter Jean Briant (1760–1799) and the sculptor Jean-Pierre Vigan (1754–1829) were his teachers. Only a few works have survived from his student days in Toulouse, which prove the usual examination of the sculptures of antiquity at that time . He also won several academic prizes such as the premier prix de composition in 1795 and the grand prix de peinture in 1796.

Despite the successful start of his training, the decisive step for the young artist was the move to Paris . In August 1797 Ingres began his studies with the classicist painter Jacques-Louis David in his studio in the Louvre , which was the most important training center for young artists in France during the revolutionary and imperial times . There Ingres quickly gained the attention of his classmates and his teacher. After mere copying in his father's workshop and the Toulouse Academy, Ingres now devoted himself to the preparations for the competitions of the École des Beaux-Arts , in which he was accepted in October 1799. His first surviving nudes and history paintings date from this time. In the following two years he successfully took part in the Prix ​​de Rome of the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1800 he reached second place, in 1801 he won with his history painting Achill receives the supplication of Agamemnon and received the associated Rome scholarship.

Beginning professional life

In 1803, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres received his first government mandate. For the city of Liège he made the portrait of Bonaparte as the first consul . Ingres began work on the painting Napoleon I on his imperial throne in 1805 , with which he first took part in the Paris Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts the following year . The picture met with considerable criticism because its style defied contemporary tastes. In October 1806 Ingres started his scholarship in Rome at the French Academy in the Villa Medici . The following year, he broke his engagement to Julie Forestier and did not return to Paris as planned. In 1808 he showed his new paintings The Great Bathers and Oedipus and the Sphinx in the exhibition of the Académie de France and received bad reviews for them.

When Ingres' scholarship ended in 1810, he decided to stay in Italy longer. He moved to Via Gregoriana in Rome and met the painter Charles Marcotte , among others . In 1813 Jean-Dominique Ingres married Madeleine Chapelle in Rome, whom he had previously only met by letter. Also in that year he painted his first version of Raffael and the Fornarina, a motif to which he should devote himself again and again. Ingres traveled to Naples in 1814, the year his father died . There he painted portraits of Caroline Murat , the younger sister of Napoleon and Queen of Naples, as well as other members of the royal family. In the following year he was hit again by a stroke of fate when the Ingres couple died in childbirth. The couple subsequently remained childless. The mother of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres died in 1817. In that year he received two painting commissions from the French ambassador in Rome. This is how Christ came into being, gives Peter the keys of Paradise and Roger frees Angelica . In 1819 Ingres again exhibited several pictures in the Salon de Paris and again received negative reviews.

Ingres and his wife moved to Florence in 1820 . First he moved in with his childhood friend Lorenzo Bartolini , then he moved into his own apartment. There Ingres copied pictures by other artists in the Palazzo Pitti and in the Uffizi . In the years 1822 and 1823 Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres struggled with his artistic situation, as he spent most of his time commissioning portraits, although he would have preferred to devote himself more to history painting. In 1824, several months late, he showed the painting The Vow of Ludwig XIII. in the annual salon. The response there was so positive that Ingres decided to return to Paris.

Return to France and start teaching

As a result of Salon success Ingres in 1824 received the order of the interior minister for the monumental painting The Martyrdom of Saint Symphorian in the Cathedral of Autun . After the end of the salon, the French King Charles X awarded Ingres the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1825 . The artist described this day as the happiest of his life. The following year, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres opened an art school near his studio. This was the beginning of his teaching career. In December 1829 he was appointed professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, which he took up on April 1, 1830. Three years later he was appointed director of the institute. In that year's salon he showed the portrait of Louis-Francois Bertin , which received good reviews.

Director in Rome, Rector in Paris

After his painting The Martyrdom of St. Symphorian in the Salon in 1834 had become a failure, he decided never to exhibit there again. That year he applied for the post of director of the Académie de France in Rome. This application was successful, so that he returned to Rome in 1835 and took over the management of the academy. He worked there very intensively in his post and resumed his own artistic activity. In 1840 Ingres did not exhibit the painting Antiochus and Stratonice publicly in the Apartment de Duc d'Orléans. On May 31, 1842, he was accepted as a foreign member of the Prussian Order pour le merite for science and the arts.

After the end of his six-year tenure, Ingres returned to Paris, where he received a professorship at the École des Beaux-Arts. Ingres spent the summer of 1843 with his wife at the Chateau de Dampierre . There he began work on the mural The Golden Age .

His tomb in the Père Lachaise cemetery

On July 27, 1849, Madeleine Ingres died of a blood disease.

In October 1851, instead of his professorship, he received the title of rector, which was linked to a lifetime salary. As a result, Ingres devoted himself more to projects with which he wanted to ensure his fame. As early as the summer of 1851 he had begun laying the foundations for a museum in his hometown of Montauban by letting the city part of his collection. Ingres also drew a large summary of his previous work for the first time this year. A work edition was published by Achille Réveil and Albert Magimel (1799–1877), which had over 100 reproduction stitches. Ingres often intervened in their design and changed early works, which he nevertheless had published as authentic.

On April 15, 1852, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres married his second wife Delphine Ramel, who was 30 years younger than him.

In 1854 the Musée Ingres moved into a room in the town hall of Montauban , which was a special honor for the artist from his hometown. At the World Exhibition in Paris in 1855 , Ingres showed a comprehensive retrospective of his work with a total of 69 paintings and was therefore a special focus of the public alongside Eugène Delacroix , who also showed a retrospective on the occasion. In 1858 Ingres made a self-portrait for the gallery of self-portraits in the Florentine Uffizi . He thus joined a number of great artistic personalities, whereby he did not portray himself as a painter, but instead staged a picture of himself as a representative of the bourgeoisie. The following year Ingres sold the first version of the painting The Turkish Bath to Prince Napoleon , who soon returned it to the artist, who then reworked it. In 1861 Ingres was given an exhibition with over 100 drawings by the Société des Arts-Unis in Paris and in the following year by Napoleon III. appointed as a member of the Senate .

On January 14, 1867, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres died in his Paris apartment. He was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery. In his will, he bequeathed over 50 paintings by himself and other artists, paintings by his students, thousands of drawings, as well as works of early Italian painting and antique vases to his hometown for the Musée Ingres.


History painting

Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII in Reims Cathedral , 1854

In 1854 Ingres exhibited the painting Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims . It is one of the images in which he linked religion and politics. The painter chose the presence of Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII on July 17, 1429 as a motif. Unlike many of the Joan of Arc paintings of the 19th century, he was not referring to the dramatic aspects of her story such as her death at the stake or the siege of Orléans . Joan of Arc stands on the side of the altar of Reims Cathedral . With her raised right hand she holds a flagpole of striking red color, the left hand is placed on the altar. This pose, together with the upward gaze, indicates her religious visions and thus her role as mediator between heaven and earth. Ingres gave Joan of Arc a halo , thereby underscoring the claim to the canonization, which the Catholic Church did not make until 1920 . Ingres depicted the freedom fighter in her armor, which reinforces the static impression of the picture and also emphasizes her body. Ingres expresses a subtle eroticism in the picture, as the epaulettes of the breastplate indicate the breasts and the skirt that covers half of the armor reveals her right leg, which is also emphasized by the red flagpole. The painting Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII in Reims Cathedral contains a personal level of interpretation beyond the historical event. As a model for Jeanne d'Arc, Inges chose his wife Delphine, whom he had married while the picture was being made. He portrayed himself as a knight on the left edge of the picture. Both are wearing armor and are positioned in the light. The connecting element in the composition is a dark canopy , in front of which there are only their two heads. This painting is therefore also an example of how the pictures painted by Ingres increasingly became a personal commitment from the mid-19th century.


Napoleon I on his imperial throne , 1806

Ingres was a very popular portrait painter in his day, but only turned to this genre out of necessity to finance his life, although he was more interested in history painting , which was at the top of the genre. In the mid-19th century, when he was a recognized artist in Paris, he received portraits from many influential and important figures. His portraits, in which he sometimes depicted the space and the body, were not without controversy. For example, art criticism interpreted arms that were longer than would have been the case in an anatomically correct representation as Ingres' insufficient skill. However, he did not attempt to depict reality, but showed his own adaptations of the subject. Characteristic of Ingres' portraits is the accuracy of the depiction of clothing and accessories and the great importance they have in the picture.

An example of Ingres' early portraits of rulers is Napoleon I on his imperial throne from 1806. As early as 1804, he had made the portrait of Bonaparte of Napoleon as the first consul . After his coronation as emperor in December 1804, Jacques-Louis David and two of his students, but not Ingres among them, were commissioned to make a life-size portrait. Ingres worked on this painting without commission and probably hoped for success with this motif when he first participated in the salon. The painter showed Napoleon in his coronation regalia with some symbols and attributes of power. The emperor sits frontally on a throne, his head is in the center of several circles formed by the throne and clothing, reminiscent of a halo . In the depiction, the emperor becomes a kind of religious icon . The polished ivory ball, which symbolizes a globe, on the back of the throne decorated with an eagle shows a reflection of the window. The motif of the eagle is repeated in the carpet at Napoleon's feet and is a symbol of Jupiter, the father of the gods . Ingres attached particular importance to the depiction of the insignia of power, the scepter , the hand of justice, the cross of the Legion of Honor and the sword of Charlemagne , so that the person of the emperor recedes behind them. The rigid posture and gaze as well as the stone-gray color of the skin also allow the representation to lie between the moving body and the stone statue. The painter was inspired by pictures of Roman , Byzantine and medieval rulers, thereby distancing himself from the reality of the Napoleonic era. This led to strong opposition from art critics who accused Ingres of an archaic and Gothic style and criticized the content of the picture. This judgment was already made in a preview of the salon, in which criticisms cited the dissimilarity of the portrait to Napoleon and the reference to Charlemagne, who was no longer desired in post-revolutionary France. However, the image must have had a positive response as it was acquired by the Corps Législatif , the legislative assembly.

The portrait of Bonaparte as the first consul was already in the service of propaganda for Napoleon. The commissioned work stages a benefactor who poses in front of a window with a view of the Lambertus Cathedral. The 34-year-old ruler is portrayed as extremely present, youthful, fresh, pleasant, downright amiable, friendly and personable. The church is depicted as intact, although it has been continually destroyed since the French Revolution . Even later, Napoleon never intervened against church iniquity. The painter imagines the repair of the church building. Part of the staging - Napoleon as a peacemaker - was Napoleon's visit in 1803 to the city, which is still marked by the Revolutionary War . Napoleon also paid 300,000 francs for the reconstruction of the demolished Amercoeur district . The oil painting shows a deed of gift to which the alleged patron points with his finger. The city also received the painting. In the neighboring country, which had only been annexed for a few years, the French dictator should be represented in the prescribed way. The “Master of the Material” shows the first consul dressed in sumptuous clothing as if on a stage, lets him step out of the painting in three-dimensional form and illustrates his unique ability to enhance the models he has painted. It was his first and, at the same time, only pleasing portrayal of the future emperor.

One of the portraits in which Ingres placed his artistic freedom over correct representation is the portrait of Madame Marie-Genevieve-Marguerite de Senonnes from 1814. Ingres painted the young noblewoman in a red dress in front of gold pillows. So two warm colors dominate, creating a familiar atmosphere. Behind her on the wall is a mirror in which the viewer can see the back and the back of the head of the sitter. The mirror is an element that Ingres used in several portraits to reproduce a second view of the person and the room. The many pieces of jewelry that Marie-Genevieve-Marguerite de Senonnes wears are also striking. The anatomically far too long depicted right arm of the Madame does not immediately catch the viewer's eye. Here Ingres gave up the representation of reality in favor of a more pronounced curve. This fact can also be proven in other portraits.

Louis-François Bertin , 1832

The portrait of Louis-François Bertin , which Ingres painted in 1832, is one of his most successful works of this genre. He was successfully represented with him at this year's salon. Louis-François Bertin (1766–1841) was an important publisher and representative of the increasingly self-confident middle class . Ingres emphasizes in the painting the hands, which he again did not depict according to anatomical standards, and Bertin's head as the seat of intelligence and his energy. Behind them the fashion and appearance of the man take a back seat, which is reflected in the disheveled hair and crumpled shirt. The publisher is shown on a chair with a round backrest and moved close to the picture surface. The position of his supported hands indicates that he is about to get up. There are several distortions in the picture. The gesture of propping up arms shows no perspective and thus violates the ideals of academic painting. Bertin's right hand also appears more like a paw, while the fingers of the left are twisted so that the thumb slips into an incorrect place. There is also a spatial distortion in the oversized seat of the chair. These violations of reality serve only to underline Bertin's mass and effect. Another detail in the portrait is the reflection of the window on the back of the chair and Bertin's glasses. Ingres thus cites his role model Raphael on the one hand, but also draws on 15th century Dutch painting on the other. This portrait received an extremely positive response. Charles Baudelaire called it attractive, others recognized in him Bertin as a bourgeois Caesar who, as a character, characterized the entire epoch.


The Bathers of Valpinçon , 1808, Louvre, Paris

Ingres dealt with the representation of bathers and bathing scenes several times in the course of his career. Ingres painted The Great Bather in 1808 and The Little Bather in 1828 . Ingres took up this topic again in his late work The Turkish Bath from 1863, which is one of his most famous works. It was created in two versions. He completed the first in 1859 and sent it to Prince Napoleon, who had commissioned the painting. After a short time in the prince's possession, however, the prince returned the picture, which was probably at the instigation of his wife. Then Ingres reworked the originally rectangular picture into a tondo and also changed some details in the picture. In this painting, on the one hand, the painter unites figures from his earlier works and now places them in a new context, on the other hand he draws on figures from books and engravings. In the foreground, for example, there is the rear view of The Great Bathing Party , who is now playing music and is set apart from the other, paler women by the lively, warm color of her body. The picture The Turkish Bath is a multi-figure composition that appears static and does not represent any action. The individual figures and groups of figures are not related to each other, but exist side by side.


Ingres' works received little attention for a long time. While the earlier ones follow David's pseudo-classical direction, his two later major works, the "Oath of Louis XIII" and "The Apotheosis of Homer", are painted entirely after Raphael. In his last time Ingres turned back to the antique direction, and his "Stratonike" appears as an imitation of antique genre painting , the figures being reminiscent of the Etruscan vase pictures and all accessories being executed with meticulous precision.

Ingres attached more importance to drawing and modeling than to color. So the sharp contrast and the massive hostility that prevailed during the lifetime of the two school heads and their supporters, namely between the Ingristes or Dessinateurs and the colorists , the students and admirers of Delacroix, is not surprising . By emphasizing the graphic at the expense of the coloring, Ingres' pictures acquire something dry and cool; nor was he an innovator and ingenuity. On the other hand, his careful studies, the purity and precision of his lines and outlines deserve the greatest recognition: Ingres, like some of his students, have achieved excellent results in this serious, strict direction. This is confirmed by an original drawing by Ingres' hand, "The Farnesian Bull" (Naples 1814), which appeared in the art trade in 1981.

Théodore Richomme , Luigi Calamatta and Louis Pierre Henriquel-Dupont made excellent copperplate engravings based on his works . They were also edited in outline by Achille Réveil (Paris 1851).


Works (selection)

  • Aix-en-Provence, Granet Museum
Jupiter and Thetis (1811)
  • Autun, cathedral
Martyrdom of St Symphorian (1834)
  • Baltimore, Walters Art Museum
Odalisque with female slave (1842)
  • Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Bonaparte as first consul (1804)
  • Montauban, cathedral
Louis XIII's oath (1824)
  • Montauban, Ingres Museum
Ossian's Dream (1813)
  • Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Artes
Madame de Senonnes (1814-1816)
  • Paris, Musee National du Louvre
The Valpincon Bathers (1808)
Oedipus and the Sphinx (1808/25)
The great odalisque (1814)
Monsieur Bertin (1832)
The Turkish bath (1863)
  • Paris, Musée d'Orsay
The source (1820/1856)
Christ gives Peter the keys of Paradise

Violon d'Ingres

In French there is the expression violon d'Ingres which means “hobby horse”, “hobby”. It relates to Ingres' hobby of playing the violin, which he mastered perfectly and which he put excessive demands on his guests at various private receptions. So if someone is very good at his hobby, he plays the violin like Ingres .

A surrealist depiction with this title was created in 1924 by Man Ray , who took a photo after the nude from 1808 and provided it with the sound holes of a string instrument , as a satirical on the pun on the proverb and at the same time on Ingres' hobby.


In 2007, the asteroid (12611) Ingres, discovered on September 24, 1960, was named after him.


  • Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Taschen, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-8228-2709-3 .
  • Uwe Fleckner: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. 1780-1867. Könemann, Cologne 2000, ISBN 3-8290-1632-8 .
  • Götz Adriani / Ernst Goldschmidt (eds.): Ingres and Delacroix . Watercolors and drawings, Dumont, Cologne 1986, ISBN 3-7701-1850-2 .
  • Andrew Carrington Shelton: Ingres . Phaidon, London 2008, ISBN 978-0-7148-4868-6 (English).
  • Andrew Carrington Shelton: Ingres and his Critics . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge / New York, NY 2005, ISBN 978-0-521-84243-3 (English).

Web links

Commons : Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Uwe Fleckner: Master of French Art - Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . hfullmann, 2007. page 12.
  2. ^ Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. page 93.
  3. a b Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. Page 94.
  4. The Order Pour Le Merite for Science and the Arts, The Members Volume I (1842–1881), Gebr. Mann-Verlag, Berlin, 1975. Page 40.
  5. a b Uwe Fleckner: Master of French Art - Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . hfullmann, 2007. page 126.
  6. a b c Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. page 75.
  7. a b Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. Page 10.
  8. a b Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. Page 65.
  9. a b Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. page 68.
  10. ^ Claudia Kuhland: Jean A. Dominique Ingres: "Napoleon Bonaparte". WDR, December 13, 2013, accessed September 7, 2018 .
  11. ^ Joseph Philippe: La Cathédrale Saint-Lambert de Liège. Gloire de l'Occident et de l'art mosan . Wahle, Liège 1979
  12. a b Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. page 63.
  13. ^ Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. Page 58.
  14. a b Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. Page 54.
  15. ^ Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. Pages 50 and 53.
  16. ^ Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. page 84.
  17. ^ Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. page 85.
  18. ^ Karin H. Grimme: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Taschen, Cologne 2007. Pages 85 and 86.
  20. Minor Planet Circ. 61268