The Portrait of Excellence: Jacques Marquet, Baron de Montbreton de Norvins, 1811; Reworked After 1814, as Painted, With Oils and On Canvas, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French Neo-Classicist, 1780–1867)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art says: “Norvins (1769–1854) was the youngest son in a wealthy Gascon family. Despite a checkered political career, he was named chief of police for the Roman States in 1811. Norvins became a staunch Napoleonic apologist during the Restoration and the July Monarchy and wrote a number of historical texts, including the highly successful, four-volume Histoire de Napoleon, the first serious biography of the emperor. His gesture of tucking his left hand into the breast of his jacket is reminiscent of his hero. While in Rome, Norvins was recognized for his wit and affability but criticized for being somewhat frivolous. Ingres, however, represents him in a formal manner. He is solemnly dressed; the only decoration he wears is the red ribbon denoting a chevalier in the Legion of Honor.”

Jacques Marquet, Baron de Montbreton de Norvins, 1811; reworked after 1814 Oil on canvas; 38 1/4 x 31 in. (97.2 x 78.7 cm) The Trustees of the National Gallery, London (NG 3291). Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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