Portrait of Mademoiselle Riviere - Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. 100x70 cm
How do you want sometimes, dissecting a time period of a century, look with one eye into the past to marvel, without delving, at least on the scenery and characters of long-gone eras. This opportunity gives us the Ingres, who left behind a number of remarkable portraits in the style of French classicism.
The painting dedicated to Mademoiselle Riviere, a representative of a noble family who found themselves on the crest of a wave during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, was commissioned by the head of the family - Philibert Riviere. The ambitious courtier decided to perpetuate his entire family, and Ingres one after another portrayed the customer, his wife and young daughter, who at that time was 13-15 years old.
Knowing the history of this work, and most importantly, the history of her heroine, you start to evaluate this portrait in a completely different way - the fact is that Carolina Riviere will die a little later, as Ingres completes her portrait. That is why the viewer's gaze tenaciously begins to look for signs of such a tragic death - a thin camp, a fragile figure, excessively pale skin and some kind of too crimson blush. Maybe this is the harbingers of the girl’s illness, and not the colorist decisions of the painter at all?
One way or another, the portrait of the girl was discussed in art circles, and Ingres was rather scolded than praised. Some were embarrassed by inaccuracies in physiology - an excessively long neck, a slightly sloping nose, others reproached the painter for the "Gothic style" and deliberate dryness.
The debates of art criticism have long subsided, and today's viewer can only peer into the sad eyes of Mademoiselle Riviere, examine a slightly fettered figure who only began to acquire a gentle female shape and feel sorry for the girl for such a swift end, while admiring the skill of Ingres.
It is not known what caused the death of Carolina, and one can only guess about the grief of the parents. The daughter’s portrait was kept in the family until the death of the girl’s mother, who bequeathed a painting to the Louvre, where you can still see the young girl with sad and deep eyes.