Dated to 1805. Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 100 by 70 cm. Stored in the Louvre, Paris, France.
This canvas was painted by the master at the beginning of his career. Philibert Rivière, who served at the court of Napoleon, invited the young painter to his home in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (a city in the suburbs of Paris) to paint three portraits: his own, his wife and daughter. It is about the latter will be discussed.
At that time, Caroline was 13-15 years old and, judging by the position in which Ingr captured her, was embarrassed and nervous, but she tried to appear calm. This is indicated by the hands, which are slightly clenched into a fist, their location, covering the stomach in an unconscious protective gesture, blush that filled the cheeks. It is likely that the reason for her excitement while posing was not only the age of transition, but also the need to stand in front of a young and attractive artist for a long time (he was about 25-26 years old).
Girls at such a young age were supposed to wear dresses of light shades, but white especially emphasized the purity and innocence. Dress style – fashionable in 1795-1820 Empire – distinguished by the disappearance of massive crinolines, which were replaced by a slightly widening to the bottom, almost straight silhouette with a high waist and flying, translucent matters. Lightweight fabric with pleating is very accurately conveyed in the picture, as well as a silvery reflection of a satin belt under the breast, folds of short sleeves. The accessories are almost imperceptible earrings, long soft leather gloves and a fur scarf, the textures of which are beautifully traced.
Obviously, the proportions are broken in the work – the neck is too long, the head and arms are slightly enlarged, but this, together with the large midnight eyes, gives the girl a mysterious charm and fragility. For such a departure from the academicism of Jean Auguste, contemporaries seriously criticized.
The shining female figure is depicted against the background of a darker green-blue pastoral landscape, which creates a hint of movement due to multidirectional diagonals of greenery and the horizon line. In the lower right corner the author’s signature is clearly visible – “Ingres”, i. e. “Ingres-son”.