Ingres, broken, suffered from blank page syndrom in Dampierre

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The Golden Age, Ingres - ©Public domain The Golden Age, Ingres - ©Public domain
Dampierre castle Castle

Ingres in Dampierre

Gold and Iron

In 1840, the duke of Luynes Honoré d’Albert called the architect Félix Duban, to re-fit out the inner decoration. Honoré didn’t want to spend a lot. So, when his family asked him to transform the library’s tiling into a warm parquet, he calculated the expense and said: "Um, let’s put a carpet, instead! With the parquet’s cost, I will feed 10 families this winter…"!

The vast Greek room on the first floor dates back to this time. And in this vast room, two paintings by Ingres should have been here: the Golden Age and The Iron Age. One of them was never completed!


1839. Ingres was 59. A painter at the height of his career! Luynes ordered him 2 paintings. He let him the choice of the theme: something antic, preferably… Of course, he would be accommodate in the castle, in the right wing, the one with a view on the courtyard. Ingres chose the Golden and the Iron Age and decided to paint on the wall. 2 years passed by: Luynes wanted to see the sketches.

Well… he was pretty cold and didn’t say the slightest compliments! And during several years, Ingres didn’t progress. Neither him, nor Luynes were satisfied with the work done. And Luynes didn’t like all those naked bodies in his familial dining-room!

Slanging matches burst, voices raised: the legend says that Ingres moaned because Luynes didn’t give him a carriage to go to Paris! The duke gave an advancement to Ingres, but the paintings had to be finish in 1854. But the artist’s wife died in 1849… Ingres gave up Dampierre’s paintings. Definitively.

And never came back in this bloody castle, where he lose all his inspiration, where he suffered from the duke’s coldness and his wife’s death. He finally undertook in writing to gave Luynes all rights on his starting work. Even the right to destroy it, if he wanted to. The duke kept his Golden Age: he only recovered it with a heavy red velvet hanging…

And also!