Jean - Auguste -
Dominique Ingres on Art and Painting
Ingres: His Opinion of Himself
" When one knows one's craft well, when one has learned well how to imitate nature, the chief consideration for a good painter is to think out the whole of his picture, to have it in his head as a whole so to speak, so that he may then execute it with warmth and as if the entire thing were done at the same time. Then, I believe, everything seems to be felt altogether. Therein lies the characteristic quality of the great master , and there is the thing that one must acquire by dint of reflecting day and night on one's art,when once one has reached the point of producing. The enormous number of ancient works produced by a single man proves that there comes a moment when an artist of genius has a feeling as if he were being swept along his own means, when, everyday, he does things which he thought he could not do."
Ingres: Sons of Homer
" Look: who is there, among the great men, who has not imitated? Nothing is made of nothing, and the way good inventions are made is to familiarize yourself with those of others."
Ingres: Art and The Beautiful
"There are not two arts, there is only one: it is the one which has as its foundation the beautiful, which is eternal and natural. Those who seek elsewhere deceive themselves, and in the most fatal manner."
" The more sublime efforts of art have no effect at all upon uncultivated minds. Fine and delicate taste is the fruit of education and experience. All that we receive at birth is the faculty for creating such taste in ourselves and for cultivating it, just as we are born with a disposition for receiving the laws of society and for conforming to their usages. It is up to this point, and no further, that one may say the taste is natural to us."
"To draw does not mean simply to reproduce contours; drawing does not consist merely of line: drawing is also expression, the inner form, the plane, modeling. See what remains after that. Drawing includes three and a half quarters of the content of painting."
" One must keep right on drawing; draw with your eyes when you cannot draw with a pencil. As long as you do not hold a balance between your seeing of things and your execution, you will do nothing that is really good."
" Expression in painting demands a very great science of drawing; for expression cannot be good if it has not been formulated with absolute exactitude. To seize it only approximately is to miss it and to represent only those false people whose study it is to counterfeit sentiments which they do not experience. The extreme precision we need is to be arrived at only through the surest talent for drawing. Thus the painters of expression, among the moderns, turn out to be the greatest draftsmen. Look at Raphael! "
Goldwater, R & Treves, M. 1976. Artists on Art, From the 14th to the 20th Century . John Murray.
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