Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Belisarius, about 1797, charcoal with stumping with black chalk and graphite. Private collection.
The long and prolific career of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) stretched from the immediate post-revolutionary period in France until the advent of impressionism. Born in the southern French city of Montauban, he enrolled at age eleven in the Toulouse Academy. He moved to Paris in 1797 to begin training in the Royal Academy and in the studio of the history painter Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825). He later won a scholarship to study in Rome, where he spent much of his professional life, interspersed with periods in Paris.
Although Ingres identified himself as a history painter (depicting large-scale, didactic, narrative scenes based on works of ancient history, mythology or the Bible), he was also a celebrated portraitist and a skilled draftsman. The drawings on loan to the Hood Museum of Art, ten works completed between the years of about 1789 to 1806 (extending from puberty to early adulthood), illustrate the method of academic training and doctrine whereby students were required to learn from the great works of classical antiquity and important Renaissance masters. Typically, young artists first drew from engraved prints of ancient works, moving on to the rendering of plaster casts, and later drawing from the live nude (male) model. The most accomplished students could compete for the "Rome Prize" to study in Rome at the French Academy.
The objects from the Hood Museum of Art's permanent collection—in particular the red chalk drawing of the head of Brutus by François André Vincent (1746–1816), a contemporary of David's, as well as the Jollain and Van Loo paintings—represent a lasting academic devotion to the classical tradition. The later sculpture by David d'Angers (1788–1856) reveals a more modern interpretation of classical subject matter.
In winter term of 2012, the students in my class Rococo and Neoclassisicm began work on this exhibition of a group of drawings by Ingres and a handful of works from the Hood Museum of Art's collection. They began with visual analyses and moved quickly on to research the works themselves and the artists, the iconography and the original works the drawings are based on, as well as the techniques employed. In collaboration with the museum, we divided the images into groups, and the labels for each of the works were written by the students based on their research and analyses.
--Kristin O'Rourke, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art History
17 April, Tuesday, 12:30 P.M.
LUNCHTIME GALLERY TALK
"Ingres's Drawings after the Classical: Looking Backwards and Forwards"
23 May, Wednesday, 4:00 P.M.
13 Carpenter Hall
Sarah Betzer, University of Virginia
Dr. Betzer's book Ingres and the Studio: Women, Painting, History is forthcoming from Penn State University Press and focuses on an artist celebrated in his lifetime and beyond as one of the most esteemed portraitists of all time. Betzer's talk will reconsider what possibilities ancient sculpture held out for Ingres and the distinctly modern terms of its allure. Presented by the Department of Art History.
Last Updated: 4/12/12