The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Ingres and the Studio

Ingres and the Studio

Women, Painting, History Sarah Betzer
  • Copyright: 2012
  • Dimensions: 9 x 10
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Illustrations: 51 color/82 b&w illustrations
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-04875-8
Ingres and the Studio is an exciting piece of scholarship that sheds new light on issues of paramount importance to our understanding of nineteenth-century French art: the increasingly interrelated destinies of portraiture and history painting; the importance of female agency within a complex cosmopolitan art world; and the centrality of imagery of women within both a specifically ingriste artistic enterprise and the modern creative imagination more generally.”
Ingres and the Studio offers a powerful new account of Ingres’s principally female portrait subjects, situated in the context of contemporary aesthetic and artistic debates—and no less situated within the context of Ingres’s studio practice and its psychological dynamics.”
“Betzer effectively points out the unique origins for Ingres’s approach to female portraiture and his distinct influence on a handful of painters marked by his inspiration and technique. . . .

Betzer’s book is thoughtful, challenging, and impeccably well-documented. The quality of the reproductions is superb and the illustrations are well-placed in the text.””
“Betzer’s book presents a welcome opportunity to expand one’s knowledge of some of the lesser known painters in Ingres’s circle and their involvement in painting some of the most influential women of their culture.”
“Through detailed (at times even meticulous) analyses, Betzer opens up prospects for engaging with [some paintings that] are as of yet well beyond the canon of nineteenth-century art. One of the great merits of this book is to make these paintings both interesting and accessible to specialists and non-specialists through Betzer’s passionate discussions and through high-quality reproductions.”
“Betzer frames Ingres as an innovator whose contributions surpassed struggles waged on academic terrain. By probing the distinction between academic and ingriste, established via the portrait-as-history and negotiated through the bodies of Ingres’s female sitters, Betzer rejects old criticisms to establish ingriste practice as a crucial bridge to modernity, an idea forwarded by her conclusion’s examination of Edgar Degas’s The Bellelli Family (1858-67) as a history portrait. In this handsomely illustrated and persuasively written text, however, Betzer’s true contribution lies in her excavation of Ingres’s frequently dismissed students, many of whom have received relatively minimal critical consideration in the art historical literature.”

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres has long been recognized as one of the great painters of the modern era and among the greatest portraitists of all time. Over a century and a half of scholarly writing on the artist has grappled with Ingres’s singular identity, his relationship to past and future masters, and the idiosyncrasies of his art. Ingres and the Studio: Women, Painting, History makes a unique contribution to this literature by focusing on the importance of Ingres’s training of students and the crucial role played by portraits—and their subjects—for Ingres’s studio and its developing aesthetic project. Rather than understanding the portrait as merely a screen onto which the artist’s desires were projected, the book insists on the importance of accounting for the active role of portrait sitters themselves. Through careful analysis of familiar and long-overlooked works, Ingres and the Studio traces a series of encounters between painters and portrait subjects in which women sitters—such as the artist Julie Mottez, art critic, salonnière, and historian Marie d’Agoult, and tragic actress Rachel—emerge as vital interlocutors in a shared aesthetic project.

Sarah Betzer is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia.


List of Illustrations



1 The Ingriste Portrait as History

2 Ingres’s Studio and the Subjects of Art

3 Julie Mottez, Rome, and Ingriste Myths of Origin

4 Marie d’Agoult, the Aesthetics of Androgyny, and the Apotheosis of Ingrisme

5 Ingres’s Studio Between History and Allegory: Rachel, Antiquity, and Tragédie



Selected Bibliography


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