Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867, French)

Ingres,_Self-portraitJean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) was a Neoclassical painter who became best known for his portraits. Ingres was born in the southern French town of Montauban the eldest of seven children.  His father was an artist and Jean showed an early talent for both art and music. He  enrolled in the Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture at age 12 and supported himself by playing the violin in the theater of Toulouse. In 1797, he won the first prize in drawing and went to Paris to study under Jacques-Louis David, who was Europe’s leading painter at that time. In 1803, he was selected among five others to paint full length portraits of Napoleon that were to be distributed throughout the country. However, his portrait, Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne was highly criticized.  Vowing to never exhibit in the Paris Salon again, Ingres broke off his engagement to be married in 1806 and left for Rome. In 1813, Ingres married Madeleine Chapelle and in 1815 his patronage dried up, and he turned to drawing portraits of tourists and diplomats. He returned to Paris in 1824 to exhibit his critically successful painting The Vow of Louis XIII.  For this he received the Legion d’honneur. Ingres artistic career was fraught with ups and downs.  However, it is clear that he was a cat lover and devoted some time to drawing his own cats.  His last painting, Turkish Bath, was completed and signed in 1862 by the eighty-two year old. In the same year, he was appointed to the French Senate. Ingres died, after a brief illness, a few years later in January 1867 at aged eighty-seven.


Biquette 1820 cat art

Ingres’ Cat Biquette
Musée Ingres
Montauban, France


Le Chat Mimi-Roto couché

Mimi-Roto Asleep


Biquette in Ingres Rome Studio

Biquette in Ingres’ Rome Studio


Kitten Sleeping in the Arms of Madame Ingres

Kitten Sleeping in the Arms of Madame Ingres



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Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats



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