1834–1841 — The Return to Rome
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The Paintings of the Director

Embittered by the harsh critical reception of his work in Paris, Ingres applied to become Director of the French Academy in Rome. During his Directorship, he only completed two paintings.

Odalisque with Slave: Several sketch drawings attest to Ingres's interest at this time in the representation of the female nude and in eroticism. These drawings manifest his obsessive quest to achieve a description of the female body that is both ideal and voluptuous. They reveal a sensuality that is as refined as it is perverse.

Antiochus and Stratonice: This painting is a tour de force, combining opposing aesthetics and merging different iconographic sources. Synthesizing the ancient Western model and the world of the Orient, it alludes to forbidden desires and to the sexual frustration of the two main characters.

Double Study for Odalisque with Slave
Double Study for Odalisque with Slave, 17.5 cm x 34.5 cm, before 1839, inv. D1157, Paris, Musée du Petit Palais
© PMVP / cliché : Ladet

Antiochus and Stratonice
Antiochus and Stratonice, 25 cm x 40 cm, RF 1440 Recto, Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo RMN / © Michèle Bellot