Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was born in the French town of Montauban to a painter and sculptor who nurtured his son’s artistic and musical talents. After studying at the academy in Toulouse with Guillaume-Joseph Roques, he moved to Paris, joining Jacques-Louis David’s studio in 1797. Although he won the Prix de Rome in 1801, the prize was withheld for several years due to a lack of funds. In 1806, Ingres took residence at the Académie de France in Rome. Portraiture featured prominently in these early years of Ingres’s career, fostering his talent as a draftsman and providing him with an income. In 1813, the artist married Madeleine Chapelle, whose companionship supported him during years of critical failure at the Salon in Paris. A few years after moving to Florence in 1820, Ingres’s fortunes changed when his work drew praise at the Salon of 1824, prompting him to return to Paris after an eighteen-year absence. Now a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, he established a training studio that became one of the main centers of Parisian Neoclassicism. Ingres was elected president of the École des Beaux-Arts in 1833, and one year later he returned to Italy as director of the Académie de France. In Rome, he completed a grand mythological painting that was met with acclaim when it was sent to Paris and ensured that he would receive a warm welcome upon his return to the French capital in 1841. Nonetheless, over the 1840s he was most popular as a portraitist. After the death of Madeleine in 1849, he remarried in 1852. In the last decade of his career, Ingres received commissions in painting and drawing from both the State and private clients. He became the first painter appointed to the Senate, in 1862, and died after a brief illness in 1867.
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A Spotlight on Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Learn more about the subject of the painting, zoom in on details, and more about the artist. Explore more than 100 of Ingres' works.