Sunday, September 15, 2013

Antique Painting of the Day: The Duc d’Orleans by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1842

Duc d'Orleans, 1842
Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingres
The British National Gallery
The Duc d’Orleans (1810-1842) was the eldest son of King Louis-Philippe of France. The young duke had been the subject of a three-quarter length portrait by Ingres. Upon the death of the young duke in an 1842 carriage accident, the king ordered that several copies of Ingres’ portrait of his son be created. This is one of them. Most likely finished by Ingres himself after being started by other artists in his workshop, what sets this painting apart from the others is that the duke’s uniform is almost entirely covered by a gray cloak. The cloak signifies that the portrait was painted posthumously.

This painting shows Ingres’ love of statuesque compositions. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) was one of the greatest French Neoclassical painters. He considered himself a painter of historical subjects, however, today, his greatest contributions to the art world are considered to be his portraiture. Ingres pushed away the influences of the Romantic Period, preferring to rely on academic and historical inspirations which gave his work a feeling of monumentality. The artist held true to his stylistic beliefs throughout his entire career, thereby giving his work an incomparable consistency. Ingres was obsessed with the idea of creating historical paintings. In the end, he did. His portraits are one of the best records of the history of his day.

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