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Ingres, broken, suffered from blank page syndrom in Dampierre

The Golden Age, Ingres | Public domain
Castle Dampierre castle

Ingres in Dampierre

Gold and Iron

In 1840, duke of Luynes Honoré d’Albert called 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 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 accommodated 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 compliment! 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 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 finished 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 give 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…

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!