Ingres Found in Chapel Attic

JURA, FRANCE -- The chance discovery of a painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, located in the town of Lons-le-Saunier, in the French province of Jura, was made during an inventory conducted by Emmanuel Buselin, curator and advisor of historical monuments of the region, the work was found in the attic of the chapel of the former hospital Hôtel-Dieu, Le Monde reports.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network enjoy a a good tale of art rediscovery.

An intrigued Buselin saw a large canvas rolled up and covered in dust -- and sat down to unroll it. As the curator and advisor unrolled the work, a large Ingres masterpiece - measuring 4.30 meters wide by 3.40 meters high -- depicting a Madonna with child and kneeling king, slowly appeared before his eyes.

The painting is thought to have been gifted to the town by the artist shortly after the completion of the work which dates to 1826.

It hung in the local church of Saint-Désiré. But according to the municipal archives, in 1936 the church was refurbished and the painting stored in the former hospital, and was completely forgotten until its recent discovery.

The work by Ingres is considered to be priceless, and is thought to be the long-lost second version of Ingres's Le Vœu de Louis XIII (The vow of Louis XIII), which King Charles X of France originally commissioned from the Neoclassical master in 1820.

Buselin's chance discovery of the work took place last autumn, but on order to protect the painting the chance find was kept a secret until this week, as the work could not be safely removed from the old hospital immediately.

The painting is expected to go on display once it has been repaired in the conservation area of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lons-le-Saunier.

Neoclassical Master

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter. Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, by the end of his life it was Ingres's portraits, both painted and drawn, that were recognized as his greatest legacy.

A man profoundly respectful of the past, he assumed the role of a guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his nemesis, Eugène Delacroix.

His exemplars, he once explained, were "the great masters which flourished in that century of glorious memory when Raphael set the eternal and incontestable bounds of the sublime in art ... I am thus a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator."

Nevertheless, modern opinion has tended to regard Ingres and the other Neoclassicists of his era as embodying the Romantic spirit of his time, while his expressive distortions of form and space make him an important precursor of modern art.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video takes a close look at Ingres' most famous masterpiece, L'Odalisque.