Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ingres' Birthday

French painter Jean-August- Dominique Ingres was born on August 29, 1780 in the town of Mautauban located in the southwest region of Midi Pyrenees, an hour north of Toulouse.  He was a Neoclassical painter in the tradition of Jacques Louis David.  The oldest of seven children, Ingres's artistic gift was encouraged early on by his father, himself a sculptor, architect and painter.  At the age of 11, Jean August entered the Academie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture and Architecture in Toulouse where in 1797 he was awarded first prize in drawing.   This led him to travel to Paris to study under the leading painter of his times - Jacques Louis David under whom he apprenticed for four years.  He obtained the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome, in 1801 for his "Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the Tent of Achilles".  Side-tracked by the Napoleonic upheavals, he traveled to Rome six years later to pursue his artistic studies and there he would remain for 25 years.  Early in his career, Ingres produced  work inspired by Greek and Roman mythology-- such as Jupiter and Thetis (1811) ; he also depicted religious themes " Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter " (1820);  history paintings such as Francois I at the Deathbed of Leonardo da Vinci (1818) and studies of the human body "La Grande Odalisque" (1814) .  While in Rome, he also distinguished himself among the French community as  as a portrait painter and drew portraits of  wealthy tourists visiting on the Grand Tour. After struggling years in Italy, Ingres achieved critical acclaim at the Salon in Paris of 1824 when the Vow of Louis XIII was exhibited.  Subsequently, he became a much sought after painter as portrait artist, teacher and standard-bearer of Classicism.  He lived till the age of 86 and is buried at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  You can view his paintings at the Louvre and other fine art museums around the world, but Montauban, the city of his birth has a museum dedicated to the artist.  Ingres had another passion outside of painting which was for playing the violin.  How well, it is a matter of dispute.  However, the French expression "avoir un violon d'Ingres"  is used to signify to have a hobby. Man Ray, as an homage to Ingres titled a series of nude photographs of Kiki in turban "Violon d'Ingres" (1924) where he painted f-holes of a stringed instrument onto the photographic print and then re-photographed the print.

La Grande Odalisque 

Violon d'Ingres -Man Ray 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paris Story Tour- A Walk through the Ages of Paris

This November, join us through an exciting and one of a kind tour of Paris.  November 4-10, 2012.

This is an enriching tour for those who desire to know the City of Light more intimately. We will leisurely retrace Paris’ history starting when it was a small pre-Roman settlement called Lutece. From there, we will explore six distinct neighborhoods highlighting Paris’ tumultuous and colorful past from the Medieval Gothic architecture on the Ile de la Cite and Latin Quarter, to the 17th century aristocratic mansions of the Marais, and from intellectual and artistic St. Germain des Pres to the picturesque and bohemian Montmartre of van Gogh and Picasso. This small group escorted tour will cover art, culture, gastronomy and the Parisian savoir vivre. So… Join us!! SPACE IS LIMITED.
For more details visit