Monday, January 14, 2013

Unheralded Display of Ingres Portrait Drawings on View at the Met

Portrait of Artist Henri Lehman
Every so often, the Met puts on a mini-show of drawings, usually unannounced and unheralded, that is itself worth repeat visits.  Such is the case with its display of half-a-dozen gorgeous portrait drawings by Ingres that were recently given to the museum by longtime patron Mrs. Charles Wrightsman.

Portrait of a Lady (click to enlarge)
They're exquisite.

Ingres' portraits are the works he's most admired for today, and his portrait drawings are a genre unto themselves.  Typically, the face he renders in great detail, with the rest of the body and the costume barely hinted at.  It's a marvelous technique for drawing the viewer in to what's most expressive of personality.

General Dulong de Rosnay (click to enlarge)

The Wrightsman drawings are beautiful examples of this portrait style.  But one, just as rewarding, takes a different approach, with as great attention given to the accoutrements of status as to the face.  Ingres' portrait of General Louis Etienne Dulong de Rosnay shows the details of his boots, hat, and broken arm, along with an intense depiction of the fingers of his left hand laced around the hilt of his sword.

The drawings are in the Robert Wood Johnson hallway gallery and will be up through February 24.

Text and Photos (c) Copyright 2013 Laura Gilbert.