Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres and Mademoiselle Caroline Rivière

'Mademoiselle Caroline Rivière' (1806) by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres;
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Today the choice was easy. French artist Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, born on 29 August 1780, is a well-known painter of portraits and oriental subjects. He was actually one of the greatest portrait painters of the 19th century. The son of an unsuccesful painter and sculptor, he studied under Jacques-Louis David in Paris. He won the Prix de Rome for his painting 'The Ambassadors of Agamemnon'. He went to Rome for quite an extensive period (1806-1820) where he developed his style and drawing. His style is influenced by both David and the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael. After Rome he went to Florence and stayed there for four years. Upon his return to Paris, he was very succesful and became the recognised leader of the Neoclassicists. To read more about his life and work, I want to refer you to the link above. Today's painting I find beautiful and it is the third of three portraits of the Rivière family that Ingres painted that year. The other two portraits are of Caroline's father and mother. Early on in his career, Ingres painted commissioned portraits for wealthy patrons. Today's portrait was painted in 1806, before his Rome period. Caroline, the portrayed girl, would have been between thirteen and fifteen years old at the time of the painting. The portrait is seen in the light of tragedy since the sitter died within a year after completion of the work.  


  1. One of my all time favorites! As you can read, this girl died within a year of the completion of her portrait.

  2. A beautiful picture of adolescence on the brink of a womanhood never to be.Ingres captures the transience of life in this girl destined to become a beautiful memory real only in canvas and paint.
    He almost seems to know this in his wistful rendering of her expression and the beautiful tranquil scene which suggests a peaceful place perhaps beyond this troubled life.
    He painted her parents too,but she remains,I would argue one of his most poignant and insightful portraits.


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