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On the Tip of My Tongue – Ingres

February 17, 2014

In the last few days I’ve been a bit lazy… I didn’t read, I didn’t knit or paint. I went for a nice walk on the beach, but I even didn’t take my camera and that’s definitely not like me! I hope it’s a short hibernation period that won’t last long and, what would be brilliant, that will evolve into an outburst of energy.

While I can’t do more than watch films or flick through my favourite magazines, looking for all kinds of inspiration, the artist, whose surname is on the tip of my tongue, is Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, who must have invested endless hours into creating stunning portraits and historical masterpieces. I can’t stop admiring his talent, but this of course adds to my feeling that being lazy is very very bad…

Well, I guess not many of us will achieve something like Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, but this shouldn’t stop us from trying. While I’m waiting for my energy outburst, here are some of his paintings – a real feast for the eye!

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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French: 29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter. Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, by the end of his life it was Ingres’s portraits, both painted and drawn, that were recognized as his greatest legacy.

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 Eugène 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.” Nevertheless, modern opinion has tended to regard Ingres and the other Neoclassicists of his era as embodying the Romantic spirit of his time, while his expressive distortions of form and space make him an important precursor of modern art.” (Information found on Wikipedia, please click here to read more.)


The Grande Odalisque, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Image found on

“Grande Odalisque, also known as Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque, is an oil painting of 1814 by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres depicting an odalisque*, or concubine. Ingres’ contemporaries considered the work to signify Ingres’ break from Neoclassicism, indicating a shift toward exotic Romanticism. Grande Odalisque attracted wide criticism when it was first shown. It has been especially noted for the elongated proportions and lack of anatomical realism. The work is housed in the Louvre, Paris.” (WikiPaintings)


The Apotheosis of Homer, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Image found on

“Ingres created this painting by combining over 100 small drawings for the assorted characters, each one making the drawing more detailed and precise. The painting was a state commission by Charles X to have himself remembered in the building works of the Louvre. The painting depicts an image of Homer, receiving all of the brilliant men of Rome, Greece, and contemporary times. The characters in the painting were extensively researched by Ingres, who studied the paintings of Nicholas Poussin, Raphael, and Apelles, the ancient Greek painter.” (WikiPaintings)


Portrait of French journalist Louis-François Bertin, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Image found on

“Louis-Francois was a patron and friend of the artist, he thus accepted the commission of the portrait, as he rather painted historical paintings, as a favor to his acquaintance. Ingres’ impatience with the portrait got the best of him a number of times, when he broke down in tears at not being able to find a suitable pose for the old man. Bertin, the patron himself, would have to soothe the artist, until he was able to paint him again. Ingres was finally able to finish the portrait when he came across Bertin sitting at an outside café in the exact pose, after which he easily completed the portrait. This portrait was the first of Ingres’ paintings that was widely well-received.” (WikiPaintings)


Madame Gonse, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Image found on


Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Image found on

“Ingres created this painting upon a commission of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who had promised it to the citizens if the town of Liege, Belgium, as a sign of appreciation for their graciousness, despite their miserable condition after Austrian bombardment. Unable to get Napoleon to sit for the painting, Ingres had to recreate the emperor’s image based off an 1802 portrait by Jean-Antoine Gros.” (WikiPaintings)

Well, I hope this post will encourage you to search for more Ingres’ paintings, maybe even to see the originals?

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*Odalisque – was a female slave or concubine in a Turkish harem, particularly the concubines in the household of the Ottoman sultan.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Claire permalink
    February 17, 2014 6:27 pm

    I call it percolating 🙂

  2. February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

    Oh thanks for the visual treat and reminder of excellence !

    • February 18, 2014 8:35 am

      Thank you for leaving a comment – really glad you found this post inspiring. K.

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