Portraits of Friends and Self-Portrait
During his second stay in Italy, Ingres enjoyed a period of calm and stability, which gave him leisure to explore his own image. His Self-Portrait shows both the celebrated artist, covered with honors, and the private man, disillusioned and saddened by failure. The dominant impression, however, is one of energy and strong will. In these years Ingres also produced several portrait drawings of close friends and family. A violinist of near professional level, Ingres played in trios and quartets and was a great connoisseur of music with very refined taste. He was in contact with several major musicians, such as Liszt, Gounod, Paganini, etc. His Portrait of Paganini, done in the "Classical" manner, is thought to be a rebuke of the violinist. Ingres, who originally revered Paganini, had come to disapprove of what he felt were Paganini's errors of interpretation and of his showy virtuosity.