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This sheet was once mounted to a drawing board. Note the crease where the paper was folded around the support, the fractured edges along the crease, and the drawn lines that stop before the crease. Of the eleven portraits in the exhibition, seven appear to have been made on prefabricated drawing boards.

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These boards consisted of fine wove paper wrapped around a heavier and cheaper support, such as thin cardboard. Sandwiched between the wrapped paper and the support was a high-quality sheet of laid paper that acted as a barrier and cushion between the rough board and the fine drawing paper. The format provided several advantages to an artist: the drawing sheet was kept taut and made more rigid by the cardboard, and the support cushioned the paper when an artist used a sharp tool, such as the stylus Ingres employed in Portrait of M.

Furthermore, the boards were portable: an artist was not tied to a studio but could easily carry drawing boards to a sitter's house for a portrait. Drawing boards were sold by artists' suppliers pre-prepared, ready for the artist's immediate use.

violon d'Ingres - Wiktionary

They were likely made by wrapping a dampened drawing sheet around the support board and gluing it in place; drying under this tension resulted in a taut surface similar to a stretched canvas. The drawing paper was only adhered on the edges of the support and on the margins, which were folded around to the back.

Because the drawing sheet was not adhered to the front of the support at all, it could be separated the paper from the board without damage. Many of Ingres's drawings made on prefabricated drawing boards have been removed from their supports. Remarkably, evidence of the original format remains in many of the Morgan's drawings today. Looking at the corners of the drawing, it is possible to see the draws—diagonal distortions of the surface—that were made when the sheet shrank slightly as it dried wrapped around the support.

The fact that the draws remain in the sheet today indicates that the drawing has never been washed—an important piece of information that will influence any future conservation treatment. Drawings that have been removed from boards may retain a bit of a crease where the paper was once folded around the support. In the Morgan's collection, such a crease is evident in Ingres's drawing Frau Reinhold and her Daughters fig.

Drawings that were originally mounted on boards may also include drawn lines that do not extend beyond the crease and a slight discoloration following the crease, which might be due to the adhesive used to adhere the sheet to the support, or due to contact with a wooden frame. These sources of degradation also made the drawing papers prone to fracturing along the crease. Ingres likely used tracing paper to copy an earlier draft of this composition to this sheet.


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Symphorien, — Ingres used a blind stylus to transfer a preliminary drawing to this sheet and then drew over the inscribed lines with graphite. Ingres divided this drawing into small and large squares to facilitate transferring the image to another sheet. Study for Oedipus and the Sphinx, The image on top taken with Reflectance Transformation Imaging, or RTI , shows that Ingres scraped away an area of the sitter's collar and burnished the paper. The image on the bottom, taken in raking light, shows where Ingres redrew the detail.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres – The Duke of Orléans

Ingres's preparatory drawings demonstrate how he experimented with elements to be used in other compositions, and, as is to be expected, these studies include a variety of techniques for transferring and editing his work. To copy a design from one sheet to another, Ingres alternated among tracing paper, grids, and inscribed lines. Ingres used a thin sheet of transparent tracing paper to transfer a preliminary design for Study for the Mounted Centurion fig.

After tracing, the thinness of the paper was no longer an asset, and so he mounted it to heavier laid paper that provided the necessary strength to withstand further drawing and erasing as the artist elaborated the composition. When tracing paper was not appropriate, such as for a finished portrait, Ingres used a blind stylus to transfer a design from one sheet to another.

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Ingres at the Morgan: Materials and Methods

He would place a sheet of paper under the image to be transferred and trace the outline with a stylus, thus inscribing bare lines in the paper below. The cushion provided by a prefabricated drawing board was essential to prevent the sharp stylus from tearing the drawing paper. Ingres used this technique in Portrait of M. Looking closely, it is possible to see that the graphite sometimes skips over low points of inscribed lines, indicating that it was applied after the inscribed lines were made.

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Ingres sometimes squared a sheet into a grid, either to transfer or scale the composition on another sheet. In Study for Oedipus and the Sphinx fig. He marked points along all four edges with a compass to lay out the grid, then drew in the lines of the grid as needed, using every point for smaller squares and every other point for larger squares.

Ingres's primary technique for removing a drawn line was to scrape the surface of the paper, lifting the top layer of paper fibers and the media embedded in them. This disrupted, roughened area would then be burnished smooth, resulting in a change in the paper's surface texture that is readily apparent when the drawing is examined in raking light. Ingres made very few changes while he worked on his portraits; when he did, it was often in the collars, cuffs, and outlines of the torsos, as seen in his Portrait of M.

Gravell, Thomas, and George Miller. Krill, John. We are indebted to historian Peter Bower for his work on Dutch papers and to curator and paper conservator Marjorie Cohn for her study of prefabricated drawing boards. Skip to main content. Ingres may be considered as a man endowed with lofty qualities, an eloquent amateur of beauty, but quite devoid of that energy of temperament which constitutes the fatality of genius.


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His dominant preoccupations are his taste for the antique and his respect for the School. His admiration, on the whole, is fairly easily bestowed, and his character is somewhat eclectic, like all men who are lacking in fatality. Symphorian , the German primitives all those little things in an anecdotal, picture-book style , antique bric-a-brac and the checkered coloring of Persian and Chinese art the small Odalisque , are forever disputing for his preference.

The love and influence of antiquity make themselves felt throughout his work; but it often seems to me that M. Ingres is to antiquity what the transitory caprices of good taste are to the natural good manners which spring from the dignity and charity of the individual. Salons and Other Exhibitions , Jonathan Mayne, trans.

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Oxford: Phaidon, , There should be a courageous declaration that only monumental painting will henceforth be encouraged. It should be decreed that we decorate our public buildings and churches whose walls cry out for paintings. These decorations should be entrusted to artists of superior ability who would employ mediocre artists as their assistants.

The latter would thus cease to oppress art and become useful. Young artists would be proud to help their masters. Everyone who can hold a brush could be used. Cited in Lorenz Eitner, Neoclassicism and Romanticism , vol. It has been bestowed on him by the young generation whose life span overlaps his radiant old age…. He alone represents in our time the high traditions of history painting, of the ideal, and of style. He has, for this reason, been accused of lacking modern inspiration and of ignoring the world around him, in short, of not belonging to his time.

The accusation is perfectly just: Ingres is not, in fact, of his time — he is eternal. Betzer, Sarah.


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Ingres and the Studio: Women, Painting, History.