This year, in my attempt to be more focused, organised & task/goal orientated, I bought a day planner. This week, Madame Moitessier has been staring back at me, wondering just when it is I am going to get to all tasks at hand.
Looking back at her, I am awed at her glowing fleshy splendour, her sumptuous clothing, jewelry & floral adornment, the muted colour arrangement (not to mention, her strange bovine eyes); harmony, tranquility & a kind of timelessness are the pursuits of this painting. … plus a bit of technical bravado.
Painted by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1851, this is the second painting started of the woman with the “terrible et belle tête” (terrible and beautiful head), but the first completed. The initial painting would take twelve years to complete (started in 1844 and completed in 1856, when Ingres was 76).
As I peered over at her during the week, I was pleasantly reminded of my 18th & 19th century European Art History course, where the professor described Ingres love of the poetry of repeated shapes, & the rhyming of shape. … a sort of playing with geometry, creating a compelling composition. In this painting, I see the repetition of the V shape – both skinny & wide, symmetrical & not upright & inverted. If you count, you can find dozens of this shape in all its variations.