Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres' Jupiter and Thetis
Muntasser, Nayla Kabazi
Hallam, John S.
Master of Arts
The painting of Jupiter and Thetis was to be Ingres' vindication against previously hostile critics and the ultimate proof of his stature as a history painter. A definitive work in his oeuvre, it synthesizes all the intellectual, stylistic and visual influences to which he had so far been exposed. Ingres worked within the classical tradition, choosing his subject from Homer’s Iliad. The scene he chose to depict, however, was not one commonly represented and was inspired by an illustration by John Flaxman. His truly innovative achievement was in style, where he synthesized aspects of the linear treatment of Greek vase painting, illustrations of classical works and the style of Raphael. He studied a large number of relevant visual sources and used them as components of a new visual language. To understand Ingres' procedure is to comprehend his aesthetic beliefs. The Jupiter and Thetis expressed Ingres' ideals but was not appreciated by his contemporaries.