Bather of Valpincon (1808) by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Bather of Valpincon - Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - 1808

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Artwork Information

TitleBather of Valpincon
ArtistJean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions146 x 97.5 cm
Art MovementNeoclassicism
Current LocationLouvre, Paris, France
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About Bather of Valpincon

The artwork “Bather of Valpincon” is a celebrated creation by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, completed in the year 1808. This oil on canvas painting belongs to the Neoclassical movement, inherently reflecting the classical grace and precision associated with the era. It measures 146 by 97.5 centimeters and is categorized within the genre of nude painting. Presently, it resides in the revered collection of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

The artwork depicts a young female figure seen from behind, providing an intimate portrayal of her form. She is sitting on a white draped bed or chaise, with her back to the viewer, exuding a sense of calm repose. The woman appears to be in a private moment, perhaps after a bath—the hint of domesticity and personal care is evident in the scene. The absence of a descriptive facial expression, due to the pose, draws the viewer’s attention to the contour lines and smooth skin tones of the subject’s back, further highlighted by the soft, diffused lighting.

Ingres’s mastery in rendering the human form with idealized proportions and smooth, almost polished surfaces, is prominent in the artwork. The intricate turban, with its lively pattern, adds a distinct contrast to the otherwise muted palette dominated by the creamy tones of the subject’s skin, as well as the whites and greens of her immediate surroundings. The lush green curtain to the left adds a rich texture and depth to the composition, having its own sumptuous quality that contrasts with the simplicity of the backdrop and the starkness of the nude.

This painting not only exemplifies Ingres’s technical skill and artistic sensibilities but also captures the neoclassical predilection for classical themes, while simultaneously giving weight to the personal and the sensual. It stands as a testament to the Neoclassicist’s capacity to infuse a timeless theme with a sense of modernity that was very much his own.

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