INGRES, Jean-Auguste-Dominique
(b. 1780, Montauban, d. 1867, Paris)

Monsieur Bertin

Oil on canvas, 116 x 95 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

In portrait painting Ingres surpassed all his contemporaries. He could combine realistic exactitude with psychological insight, but still remain the sober observer, not involved in the inner life of his subjects. He could paint old men with the same supreme ease as young princesses, and capture the critical eyes of fellow painters as exactly as the dignity of political office, as in the portrait of Louis-François Bertin (1766-1841), one of the leading personalities between the July monarchy and the Second Empire. He established the Journal des Débats which supported the policy of Louis-Philippe.

As a portrait painter, Ingres has often been compared to Holbein, and in portraiture particularly the severity of line and exactitude of detail so typical of Neoclassicism often lend the subject a touch of special historical dignity.