madame marcotte

...a ghostly twin, waiting.
...a ghostly twin, waiting.

(click on image for a closer look)

(after) Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres 1780 – 1867

Marcotte Madame de Sainte-Marie 1826,  H. : 0.93 m. , L. : 0.74 m.

 “The frail Madame Marcotte (1803 – 1862), wife of an official of the Treasury, has been painted in her richest finery. Her brother Charles Marcotte was a friend of Ingres. The artist drew a score of portraits of members of this family.” –The Louvre

 Cited above is all the info found (on the Louvre’s database)  for the painting of Madame Marcotte by Ingres.  Her name is hyperlinked to an image of the actual painting with a frame.  I was searching around my digital pictures today & was reminded of her again. I drew this in ’07.  When I finished, I think I showed everyone I knew, I was so proud of her.  Nowadays she sits on our piano in a plastic sleeve–waiting. 

Years ago I saw a reproduction of her in a book on The Louvre.  I fell in love right away.  The master’s treatment of the brown satin, her hair & that gorgeous face had me at first glance.  This is not a well known painting of his.  More famous paintings of Ingres are of Napoleon, or of his Turkish women in the bath &c.  That she isn’t too popular, made me love her more.

I’m sure I wanted to draw this as an homage & to have a good challenge.  Could I actually create a drawing that would come even close to the painted Madame Marcotte?  Several things had to be just-right.  The face, the fabric, the jewelry—all of it.  One doesn’t just come to Ingres & expect his secrets to be revealed at once.  I had to conjure this out very slowly & very carefully.  Each touch of the pencil had to be carefully thought out.  It’s a way of seeing, isolating each fragment—it’s all subtlety.  I had to love her.  I was enslaved.

While I worked on this I also tried to read up on Ingres.  One issue that is always talked about is his distortions.  This can be seen in his handling of the skin & hands (maybe her face too).  Her hands seem to be too perfect, without knuckles & perhaps a little too white.  Another distortion may be her lovely eyes, they look to be too big.  All this considered, I’d say the distortions add to her beauty, her unusual look, her seductive charm.  I have seen paintings of his where the distortions are a distraction.  The C. d’ Haussonville portrait at The Frick Collection is a good example.  Look at her right arm (closely) it’s growing out of her side!  Don’t get me wrong, Ingres was the one of the finest painters in history, but like anyone (including me), he had his moments.

My Madame Marcotte seems to suffer as a lonely twin.  She is a mere ghost, a replica.  As I’ve said before, the drawing is a like a clone.  As a clone she is not perfect, exact or the same as her sister hanging in the Louvre.  My little drawing remains in a kind of stasis, not yet seen, not yet recognized.  She floats, waiting for me (someone) to give her the attention she deserves, little does she know, I can’t give her everything.  I only have two eyes…

 Aurelio Madrid

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