Portrait of Philibert Rivière

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Ingres, 1805, oval, 46 x 46 in. Louvre, Paris

Portrait of Philibert Rivière is a c. 1805 oil on canvas painting by the French Neoclassical artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. It was commissioned by Philibert Rivière de L'Isle, an influential court official in the in Napoleonic Empire,[1] along with portraits of his wife, Philibert and their daughter, Caroline.[2]

The couple also has a son, Paul, who was not portrayed.[3] The three portraits comprised Ingres' first major commission, were completed when he was c 23 years old. They are each very different in tone and approach, but were highly successful from an artistic point of view, and all considered among his early masterpieces.[4]


As an official commission, the painting is very different from Ingres' earlier male portraits, which were mostly informal descriptions of friends. Philibert is shown in an official pose, sitting on a highly ornate and expensive chair, and posed beside a table draped with a red velvet cloth, and containing documents related to his office. His hand is tucked inside his vest, in a pose reminiscent of Napoleon. [3]

Jacques-Louis David, Portrait of Gaspar Mayer, 1795
David, Portrait of Pierre Sériziat, c 1790

The painting was influences by the work of Jacques-Louis David, in particular his amiable portraits of Pierre Sériziat and Gaspar Mayer. Here Rivière may appear imposing, while also relaxed and friendly.[4] The painting is very flat and spatially restrictive.

Unusually for Ingres, there are no surviving preparatory sketches. The artist signed and dated the canvas at the lower left.[3]


  1. ^ Pollitt, Ben. "Ingres, Portrait of Madame Rivière". Khan Academy, 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2017
  2. ^ Rosenblum, 56-58
  3. ^ a b c Conisbee, 62
  4. ^ a b Rosenblum, 54


  • Rosenblum, Robert. Ingres. London: Harry N. Abrams, 1990. ISBN 978-0-300-08653-9
  • Conisbee, Philip. Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. ISBN 978-0-300-08653-9

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