Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Musee Ingres

Photo: Louvre
I love small museums in out-of-the-way places.  I got the train from Toulouse to the Musee Ingres in Montauban last month, and it was well worth the trip.  Ingres can be a bit austere and he's unfashionable today, but he could really paint!   His portraits remain popular, represented particularly by the excellent Portrait of Madame Gonse - an ugly lady, but a really powerful portrait.  Ingres' love of Raphael is well-known, but I hadn't previously appreciated his debt to Poussin, which was really apparent in two large works from the start and end of his life, the Christ Handing the Keys to St Peter and Christ Among the Doctors (above).  It's beautifully painted, but you can really see how far the composition falls short of Poussin.
Ingres is particularly valued as a draftsman, and the museum has lots of drawings on open access in drawers in the main galleries, allowing direct comparison of the Christ Among the Doctors with the preparatory sketches.  One odd thing was the painting below, which is claimed as an Ingres copy of a painting by Giulio Romano.  The copy isn't good enough to be by Ingres, but the painting it copies is generally (and in my view rightly) now regarded as a Raphael.  It was copied in Rome, but it's now in the National Gallery, Washington, having been sold from the collection of the Alte Pinakothek in the 1930s. 
Photo: Wikipaintings

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