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PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTION

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
A PRELIMINARY STUDY FOR THE VIRGIN MARY IN THE VOW OF LOUIS XIII
JUMP TO LOT
100

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTION

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
A PRELIMINARY STUDY FOR THE VIRGIN MARY IN THE VOW OF LOUIS XIII
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Drawings

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Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
MONTAUBAN 1780 - 1867 PARIS
A PRELIMINARY STUDY FOR THE VIRGIN MARY IN THE VOW OF LOUIS XIII

Provenance

G.B. Lasquin (L.1139a)

Catalogue Note

The Vow of Louis XIII was commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior in 1820 for Montauban Cathedral, soon after the completion of Ingres' portrayal of Jesus presenting the keys of Heaven to St. Peterand at a time when the artist's popularity was in the ascendancy.  The subject chosen represents the moment that the Bourbon King Louis XIII places the Kingdom of France under the protection of the Holy Virgin, a particularly poignant choice given the dramatic political and military upheaval France had suffered during the course of the Revolution and First Empire as well as the continued unrest it was experiencing since the Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814.  An important piece of pro-Bourbon propaganda, this painting would not only emphasise the long history of the Bourbon dynasty but also celebrate the way in which the family was responsible for uniting the Church and State in France.

Characteristically, Ingres produced a number of preparatory drawings for this commission, the majority of which are now housed in the Musée de Montauban.1 One important factor, however, that seems originally to have been overlooked by the artist was the specific wording Louis XIII used in his vow, in which he undertook to “reconstruct the high altar of the Cathedral Church of Paris, including a representation of the Virgin holding her Beloved Son in her arms” with an effigy of himself “at the feet of the Son and his Mother, offering them our crown and sceptre.”  This seeming oversight led to Ingres's beginning the commission by portraying the kneeling Louis XIII beneath the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a modello of which is also in the Musée de Montauban (Fig. 1). It was for this composition that the present sheet was undoubtedly a preparatory study, with the Virgin standing with her hands clasped in prayer looking down towards the area that Louis XIII was due to occupy below her. It seems to have been at this point in the project that Ingres either realised or was made aware of the importance of including Christ within the composition and this led to his changing the position of the Virgin so that in the painting she is shown seated, holding the Christ Child in her arms. 

1.  G. Vignes, Dessins d'Ingres, Catalogue raisonné des dessins du musée de Montauban, Paris 1995, pp. 86-102 

Old Master & British Drawings

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London