May 29 , 2010




Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French Neoclassical painter. He assumed the role of a guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his opponent 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." His career is full of contradictions. Yet more than most artists he was obsessed by a restricted number of themes and returned to the same subject again and again over a long period of years. He was a bourgeois with the limitations of a bourgeois mentality but as Baudelaire remarked, his finest works 'are the product of a deeply sensuous nature'. His technique as a painter was academically unimpeachable.

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