Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicted clothes and drapes with such intensity of detail that we the viewers cant help placing ourselves in the place of the subjects, we wonder how the lace and silk fabric would feel on our bodies; we unconsciously conjure up the sensation of touch when we look at the fabrics…
It’s not for nothing that Baudelaire remarks how Ingres’s portraits are clothed “in the costume of their own period. They are perfectly harmonious because everything - from costume and coiffure down to gesture, glance and smile (for each age has a deportment, a glance and a smile of its own) - everything, I say, combines to form a completely viable whole.”
Ingres was the son of a minor painter and sculptor, Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres and was born at Montauban in 1780. After an early academic training in the Toulouse academy he went to Paris in 1796 and was a fellow student of Gros in Davids studio
Critics have always criticized Ingres’s lack of spontaneity, his mannered and too 'finished' work. The consciousness of the craft is too evident in his paintings, critics claim. In fact Baudelaire was baffled by the almost suffocating nature of Ingres's portraits, which he tried to rationalize by attributing it to the artist's obsession with the ideals of antiquity mingled with 'the curiosities and minutiae of modern life’. However not even his worst critic can deny his awe-inspiring ability to recreate each fold and each ripple of a drape.
One can say that he was a true Romantic for if Romanticism involves mental perturbation and a constant struggle to achieve a personal vision, then none embodied such qualities as much as Ingres did
During his first years in Rome Ingres began to paint bathers, a theme which was to become one of his favorite themes. The Turkish bath, celebrates female voluptuousness and carries on the theme which attractive to Ingres throughout his life.Many feminists and indeed thinkers find the way in which his images of women seem to be objectified, disturbing. Whether its fashion idols or almost nude bathers and odalisques all of them are highly sensualized. But its his portraits that defined his works, whether its Louise de Broglie, Countess d'Haussonville or the breathtaking Princesse Albert de Broglie, they were exquisite pieces of master draughtmanship.