The present work, executed by Ingres in 1810, the year the sitter is thought to have left Rome to return to life in Paris, falls into a small series of arresting portrait drawings made by the artist between 1810 and 1812, in which the sitters are all presented in profile to the left. As Margaret Morgan Grasselli discusses in her catalogue entry for Ingres’ portrait of Philippe Mengin de Bionval, in which the sitter is similarly portrayed in profile to the left, “Ingres was interested, for that very limited period, in exploring the artistic possibilities and complexities of the profile,” though “For some reason he virtually abandoned profile portraits soon after.”3 Indeed only three later profile drawings are known, dating from 1814, 1816 and 1841, none of which convey the same level of intensity as those from 1810-12.
The portrait of Dupaty was, until 1977, only known through a lithograph by François-Louis Dejuinne, which, Naef surmises, was in all likelihood made after the sitter’s death in 1825 (fig. 1).4 The re-emergence of the drawing brings with it an exquisite example of the precision and subtlety that Ingres manages to imbue in many of his silvery black lead portraits. The extraordinary detail and modelling achieved by the artist in Dupaty’s face is produced through the most delicate touches of the medium, while Ingres uses far looser, more wavy strokes for his hair and broad confident strokes to indicate clothing.
1. Naef, op. cit., 1975
2. Ibid., p. 261
3. In Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch, exhib. cat., London, National Gallery, et al., 1999-2000, no. 48, p. 176
4. Naef, op. cit., 1975, p. 266
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