Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Self-Portrait at 24 Years of Age (LEO Design)

Self-portrait of the artist at the age of 24 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

On this day in 1780, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was born to Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres, himself a bit of an artistic dabbler and would-be Renaissance Man.  With his father’s encouragement, the son would develop his skill and eventually become one of France’s most accomplished painters—especially in the field of portraiture.

Ingres’s early formal education ended abruptly when his school was closed during the French Revolution.  At eleven, he was sent to Toulouse where he began studying painting, sculpture and music and was introduced to the work of Renaissance giant Raphael—an artist who was to have a significant impact on Ingres’s taste, style and manner of painting.

At 16, the Academy in Paris awarded the boy its First Prize for drawing and the artist secured a position in the workshop of Jacques-Louis David—who was then France’s most important Neoclassical painter (and court painter for the emperor Napoleon).  Ingres followed in his master’s footsteps for four years, honing his skills, until, at the age of 19, he was accepted into the painting department of the École des Beaux-Arts.

Ingres admired the Italian Raphael whole-heartedly, and believed that the earlier artist’s precepts were “the eternal and incontestable bounds of the sublime in art.”  Ingres viewed himself as a “Historical Painter” and he insisted he was “a conservator” of the Renaissance standards, “not an innovator.” Ingres actually disliked those artists who sought to push the boundaries of the art form.  Nevertheless, today, Ingres is viewed as a pioneer of French Romanticism (and best-regarded for his portraiture) and his work is considered an important pre-cursor to Modernism which developed in the half-century after his death.  Modern artists including Degas, Matisse, Picasso, and Man Ray have all noted Ingres’s important influence on the development of their works.

Ingres taught and continued to paint—in Paris, Florence, and Rome—until he died of pneumonia on 14 January 1867 at the age of 86.  He is buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  His paintings hang in the most-important galleries in the world.


LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (

Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts"

Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"