French Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres painted sisters Lady Harriet Mary Montagu and Lady Catherine Caroline Montagu in 1815 while they were in Rome. The painting titled “Harriet and Caroline Montagu, Rome” is now part of the Robert Lehman Collection at The Met, showcasing these two beautiful ladies in their elegant attire.
Ingres was known for his influence by past artistic traditions and his aspiration to become the guardian of academic orthodoxy against the Romantic style that was prevalent during his time. His knowledge in art began early, having received instruction from his artist father and enrolling at the Academy of Toulouse when he was only twelve years old.
When Ingres received the Montagu commissions, he was experiencing a financial hardship making it challenging to make ends meet. This particular painting showcases some traditional elements like intricate detailing on clothing, jewelry, furniture with an emphasis on shadows and highlights that give depth to each portrait’s facial features.
To sum up, Ingres’s artwork titled “Harriet and Caroline Montagu,” painted in 1815 showcases detailed Neoclassical elements reflecting a particular socio-political era in Europe. Although influenced primarily by past artistic traditions but through Ingres’s unique perspective made it possible for him to create portraits reflecting elegance with impressive details even though experiencing monetary hardships during that period.