In this FULL VERSION, designed for iPhone® and iPad®, you will find 100 drawings by the great master Ingres. Enjoy the high quality images of his drawings, share them with your friends via email, and learn about the artist life.
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (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. His portrait drawings, of which about 450 are extant, are today among his most admired works. 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.
Ingres’s influence on later generations of artists has been considerable. His most significant heir was Degas, who studied under Louis Lamothe, a minor disciple of Ingres. In the 20th century, Picasso and Matisse were among those who acknowledged a debt to the great classicist; Matisse described him as the first painter “to use pure colors, outlining them without distorting them.” His truly personal and unique art was admired as much by the Cubists for its plastic autonomy, as by the Surrealists for its visionary qualities. Barnett Newman credited Ingres as a progenitor of abstract expressionism, explaining: “That guy was an abstract painter … He looked at the canvas more often than at the model.”
Ingres’s style was formed early in life and changed comparatively little. His earliest drawings already show a suavity of outline and an extraordinary control of the parallel hatchings which model the forms. The preferred materials were also already established: the sharply pointed graphite pencil on a smooth white paper. Although both the materials and the manner are now familiar to us, Ingres’ manner of drawing was as new as the century. It was immediately recognized as expert and admirable. If his paintings were sternly criticized as “Gothic,” no comparable criticism was leveled at his drawings. Drawings made in preparation for paintings are more varied in size and treatment than are the portrait drawings. He also drew a number of landscape views while in Rome but, with the exception of the small tondo Raphael’s Casino, he painted no pure landscapes.
From the first, his paintings are characterized by a firmness of outline reflecting his conviction that “drawing is the probity of art”. He believed colour to be no more than an accessory to drawing, explaining: “Drawing is not just reproducing contours, it is not just the line; drawing is also the expression, the inner form, the composition, the modelling. See what is left after that. Drawing is seven eighths of what makes up painting.”