Ingres received his early training as an artist from his father, a former student of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse. He then went on to Toulouse where he studied with sculptors and painters. One of his most important teachers there was G-J Roques, a history painter and portraitist. In 1797 Ingres came to Paris and enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he worked in the atelier of J-L David. He failed his first attempt to win the Prix de Rome, but won the prize the following year in 1801. His reception piece, The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the Tent of Achilles, already reveals the full extent of his talent based on an erudite knowledge of art history, a good command of models learned from Antiquity and technical virtuosity.
Before leaving for Rome, financial difficulties led Ingres to seek commissions. This is when he produced his first painted portraits. The most important of these pictures are: Monsieur Rivière (a square canvas), Madame Rivière (an oval) and Mademoiselle Rivière (an arch-shaped picture). Mademoiselle Caroline Rivière is represented against a landscape background. Her blooming youth and the delicacy of her features are enhanced by the light tones of the painter's palette.