The last of the Neoclassical French painters, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was the inventor of an atypical, mannerist canon of female beauty that made him famous. His masterpiece is La Grande Odalisque (1814), which is as much a part of the history of Orientalism as it is of the tradition of the great masters of Western painting. A skilled draughtsman, admirer of Raphael and follower of pure line, Ingres was so influential that other artists, such as Pablo Picasso, came to be inspired by his style as “Ingresism” or the “Ingresque period”. His passion and talent for the violin inspired the expression “having an Ingres violin”.
Born in Montauban at n°6 rue de l’Hôtel de ville, a stone’s throw from the museum that now bears his name, Antoine Bourdelle revealed an early aptitude for drawing and sculpture at the age of 13. A student of the sculptor Falguière at the Beaux Arts de Paris, Bourdelle quickly became a practitioner in Rodin’s studio and collaborated with the master for 15 years. His most notable work is Archer Heracles(1910), the original plaster of which is on display at the Ingres Bourdelle Museum in Montauban. 13 sculptures by the artist are freely available for viewing downtown. Bourdelle’s art is also recognized in Paris with the musée Bourdelle and a Jardin-Musée in Egreville (77). For the nostalgic, Bourdelle also inspired the notebook brand for schoolchildren “Herakles”.