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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 'Pindar and Ictinus', probably 1830-67

Key facts
Full title Pindar and Ictinus
Artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Artist dates 1780 - 1867
Date made probably 1830-67
Medium and support Oil on canvas, laid down on panel
Dimensions 34.9 × 27.9 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1918
Inventory number NG3293
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Pindar and Ictinus
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

This small canvas mounted on panel shows two imaginary portraits of figures from Ancient Greece. The main figure, whose bearded face is shown in profile, is the lyric poet Pindar (518–438 BC). Behind him, and in shadow, is Ictinus, the architect of the Parthenon, who lived in the mid-fifth century BC. To help us identify them, Ingres has given each the tools of his trade: Pindar, wearing a wreath of laurel leaves – a mark of his poetic achievement – holds a lyre and Ictinus holds an architect’s ruler.

Ingres had included a very similar portrait of Pindar in his monumental painting The Apotheosis of Homer, a ceiling decoration he completed in 1827 at the Louvre, Paris. The painting shows a group of over 40 figures in front of an ancient Greek temple, arranged symmetrically around the enthroned poet, Homer.

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