Ingres’ Portrait of Granet from Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence

J. Ingres. Portrait of François Marius Granet. 1807. Oil on canvas. Granet Museum, Aix-en-Provence

The exhibition of one picture Portrait of Granet by Ingres from Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence continues a traditional series Masterpieces of Museums of the World in Hermitage. The exposition is being held in the Winter Palace from November, 14.

Both Ingres and Granet were Jacque Lui David’s pupils and both the artists shared the doctrine of neoclassicism elaborated by the master. Granet spent only some months in David’s workshop. Then he began to work by himself – in France and, mainly, in Italy where he arrived in 1802. Ingres studied at David from 1797 – 1801. Ingres was awarded with a Big Roman Award in 1801 for a picture Ambassadors of Agamemnon at Achilles (the School of fine arts, Paris) gave him a chance to get a grant and a trip to Italy for four years. In Italy Ingres elaborated his own concept of neoclassicism with more flexible art form and more emotional images.

The portrait of artist Granet (1775–1849) made in 1807 in Rome was among the best and the most pathetic Ingres’ works of 1800s. The artist depicted a long façade of the Kvirinalsky Palace, so-called Manica Lunga designed in baroque style by Giovanni Lorenco Bernini at the distant view. Ferdinando Fuga finished the construction of the palace in early 18th century.

The composition of the Portrait of Granet includes certain devices acquired by Ingres in David’s workshop. However for Ingres the main quality of a portrait is its emotional saturation that is unusual for David’s portraits, even to those in which faces of the models are turned to the spectator. Ingres reflected in Granet’s look the state of creative enthusiasm and firm confidence of his own talent. The picture has a feeling of inspiration which not only Ingres experienced during his work on a portrait but also his model. Ingres and Granet admired the splendor of Rome. They were proud to participate in the art life of the Eternal city.

After the completion of work on a portrait Ingres presented the picture to Granet who kept it till the end of his life. After his death in 1849 Ingres’ work was transferred to a museum in the native city of Granet – Aix-en-Provence. Later this museum was named after Granet. The friendship between Granet and Ingres stood severe tests, experienced periods of quarrels, misunderstanding, rivalries in 1810-1820s. In 1830 Ingres’ and Granet’s friendly relations was being restored. In January this year Granet recollected the moments of their stay in Italy in 1800s. He wrote to his friend: “These were the most beautiful days of our life”.

The exhibition is opened till January 25.

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Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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