Pupils of David


Antoine-Jean Gros (1771-1835) trained with his father, a miniaturist and then with Jacques-Louis David. Although he revered David and became one of his favorite pupils, Gros had a passionate nature and was drawn more to the color and vibrancy of Rubens and the great Venetian painters than to the Neoclassical purity of his master.

In 1793 Gros went to Italy, where he met Napoleon and was appointed his official battle painter. The first result of this collaboration was the handsome painting of Napoleon on the Bridge at Arcole, which became an instant success. In many ways, this set the pattern of future Napoleonic pictures. Gros followed Napoleon on all his subsequent campaigns, and his huge paintings such as The Battle of Eylau (Louvre, Paris, 1808) are among the most stirring images of the Napoleonic era. Compared to the contemporary war scenes of Goya, they might be labeled glamorous lies, but they are painted with such dramatic skill and panache that they cannot but be admired on their own terms.

Because these paintings go far beyond the classical forms popularized by his teacher David, Gros is regarded as one of the leading figures in the development of Romanticism; the color and drama of his work influenced Géricault, and Delacroix.

 For information on individual works, and enlargement of picture, click on thumbnail.

 Napleon Bonaparte on Arcole Bridge

 Napleon Bonaparte on Arcole Bridge (detail)

 Napoleon at the Pest House of Jaffe

 Napoleon at Pest House (detail

 Jerome of Westphalia

 Napoleon at the Battle of Eylau


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), after an early academic training in the Toulouse academy, went to Paris in 1796 and was a fellow student of Gros in David's studio. He won the Prix de Rome in 1801, but owing to the state of France's economy he was not awarded the usual stay in Rome until 1807. In the interval he produced his first portraits, mostly of well-to-do clients which are characterized by purity of line and enamel-like coloring (especially the three portraits of the Riviere family). These early portraits are notable for their calligraphic line and expressive contour, which had a sensuous beauty of its own beyond its function to contain and delineate form. It was a feature that formed the essential basis of Ingres's painting throughout his life.

During his first years in Rome he continued to execute portraits and began to paint bathers, a theme which was to become one of his favorites. He remained in Rome when his four-year scholarship ended, and received substantial commissions, including two decorative paintings for Napoleon's palace in Rome (Triumph of Romulus over Acron, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1812; and Ossian's Dream, Musée Ingres, 1813). In 1820 he moved from Rome to Florence, where he remained for 4 years, working mainly on his Raphaelesque Vow of Louis XIII, commissioned for the cathedral of Montauban. Ingres's work had often been severely criticized in Paris because of its `Gothic' distortions, and when he accompanied this painting to the Salon of 1824 he was surprised to find it acclaimed and himself set up as the leader of the academic opposition to the new Romanticism. (Delacroix's Massacre of Chios was shown at the same Salon.)

Ingres stayed in Paris for the next ten years and received the official success and honors he had always craved. During this period he devoted much of his time to executing two large works: The Apotheosis of Homer, for a ceiling in the Louvre (installed 1827), and The Martyrdom of St Symphorian (Salon, 1834) for the cathedral of Autun. He accepted the Directorship of the French School in Rome,where for seven years he was a model administrator and teacher, greatly improving the school's facilities, but he produced few major works in this period. In 1841 he returned to France, once again acclaimed as the champion of traditional values. He was heartbroken when his wife died in 1849, but he made a successful second marriage in 1852, and he continued working with great energy into his 80's. At his death he left a huge bequest of his work (several paintings and more than 4,000 drawings) to his home town of Montauban and they are now in the museum bearing his name there.

 For information on individual works, and enlargement of picture, click on thumbnail.


 The Companions of Diana

 Diana Returns from the Hunt

 Diana Leaves her Bath

 Interrupted Sleep

 The Toilette of Venus

 Venus and Cupid

 Leda and the Swan

 La Toilette

 The Marquise de Pompadour

 Are They Thinking of Grapes

 The Virgin and Child

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