Paintings in the new "troubadour" style
Very early on in his career, Ingres demonstrated a particular interest in the "troubadour" style. This artistic current, named in reference to the medieval minstrels, launched the vogue for the Middle Ages. Artists working in this style typically chose as their subject matter episodes of French history, which they treated in a realistic manner and with a great concern for historical accuracy. Their paintings were characterized by a smooth finish and a vibrant palette.
The Death of Leonardo Da Vinci: This painting was commissioned by the Comte de Blacas, who was the French ambassador to Rome. Ingres's goal was to glorify the figure of the king, Francis I, while at the same time paying homage to one of the great masters of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci. The theme was already popular in the late eighteenth century. Despite the anecdotal aspect of the scene and the glossy, enameled smoothness of the painting, Ingres was able to convey a sense of deep emotion.
Paolo and Francesca: Ingres seems to have been particularly captivated at this time in his life by the theme of troubled or thwarted passion, and he replicated this scene several times.