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About This Artwork
Amédée-David, the Comte de Pastoret, 1823–26
Oil on canvas
103 x 83.5 cm (40 1/2 x 32 3/4 in.)
Estate of Dorothy Eckhart Williams; Robert Allerton, Bertha E. Brown, and Major Acquisitions funds, 1971.452
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, who championed Classical ideals throughout his long and productive career, began this portrait in 1823, the same year that the thirty-two-year-old count helped him become a full member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Ingres astutely captured the character of the suave young nobleman, from the refined line of his silhouette to his elegant costume, long fingers, and slightly swaggering pose. The artist’s fastidious, impeccable technique is particularly evident in the precisely rendered details of the sword hilt and the medal of the Order of the Legion of Honor, which the count received in 1824. Ingres studied in the prestigious atelier of Jacques-Louis David; although he considered himself a history painter, portraits such as this paid his bills for many years and earned him considerable praise. This work was in progress at about the same time that the count acquired a painting of his mother by David at the artist’s posthumous sale. In 1897 Amédée-David, the Comte de Pastoret was purchased by the painter Edgar Degas, an avid art collector and admirer of Ingres, who, like the older artist, became the greatest French portrait painter of his generation.