Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch

ISBN 13: 9780810965362

Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch

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9780810965362: Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch
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608 pages with 504 illustrations including 203 in full colour, provenances, exhibitions, references, chronology, selected bibliography and index

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Like his contemporaries, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres considered history paintings to be the most exalted form of art, with portraiture a lesser genre. Even during his lifetime, however, tastes were changing, and while icons like his Turkish Bath and Grande Odalisque are still highly regarded, Ingres is most admired today for his innovative and vivid portraits, which transcend time in their physical and psychological truth. Portraits by Ingres--the catalogue of the first comprehensive exhibition in America of Ingres' portraits, organised by the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the National Galleries in Washington, DC, and London--is beautifully produced and impressively researched. And it will now stand as the definitive study of the subject. Eight eminent curators and critics have contributed essays that include the latest scholarship and a wealth of well-chosen comparative material. The sitters and the technical production of the portraits are described with great analytic flair. Perhaps the most famous image is that of Louis-François Bertin, made in 1837--a startling painting then as now for its almost photographic likeness. Contemporary luminaries, from beauties like Madame Moitessier to composers Charles Gounod and Niccolò Paganini, look out at viewers with intelligence and verve; by telling their stories, the catalogue entries provide a delightful history lesson of the Second Empire in France. At the end of Ingres' life in 1867, Leon Legrange summed up the artist's achievement: "What man has painted the 19th century more successfully? Is not Ingres' gallery of portraits ... the most faithful image of an epoch?" --John Stevenson

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