Browse by Title

Title: : 1 of 1
Baron Joseph-Pierre Vialetès de Mortarieu

Baron Joseph-Pierre Vialetès de Mortarieu, 1805-1806

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
French, 1780-1867
Oil on canvas
24-1/8 x 19-3/4 in. (61.2 x 50.2 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

An avid collector of the arts, Baron Vialetès is carefully described within a triangular silhouette that descends from his soft curly hair to his blue-black coat. His election in 1805 as mayor of Montauban, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s hometown in southwest France, may have occasioned this portrait. The medals on his coat indicate his prestigious membership in France’s Legion of Honor and Spain’s Order of King Charles lll, the two highest orders of merit in each country.

Depicted against a vast and tranquil sky, the baron makes a vivid impression with his focused gaze. However, the allure of his handsome face belies the subtle distortions of his facial features. His eyes are unevenly sized, his nose is sharply bent and his left eyebrow is unnaturally long. Exaggerated proportions like these are a common feature of Ingres’s portraiture. They allowed the artist to craft an idiosyncratic likeness for each sitter, while simultaneously subverting conventions of ideal beauty.

View Provenance

Title: : 1 of 1