The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the Tent of Achilles Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the Tent of Achilles is a painting which was done by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in the year 1801. The motive behind producing the painting was for the Prix de Rome competition. The painting is currently stored in the Ecole Nationale Superieure des beaux-arts in Paris, France.

The painting shows an event from Homer’s lliad, whereby Achilles did not want to listen to the diplomat sent by Agamemnon, who was sent to convince him to return to the Trojan War. Agamemnon the king sent out Chris the priest which angered the god Apollo, and in response to his priest humiliation, Apollo the god threw his arrows to the Greek land. This forced him to come together after advice from Achilles and the generals. The subject of the painting was to show the warriors’ parade towards the battle. Through the painting we can see that the painter was able to interpret the subject characteristically, thus emphasizing on an instant of emotional drama instead of physical form.

The reason behind the painting was to demonstrate how the painter has mastered the human figure in classical history painting. From the painting as well we can see Odysseus in a red cloak which was a consequent from a sculpture by Pseudo-Phidias, laying down the weapons he had carried, which is also visible to the left of the painting. From the painting, the painter had the desire to reproduce the Renaissance and the cannons which were done by his predecessor. The painting shows stately naked bodies of heroes having a dialogue, and the horizon painted juicy blue. From the painting, the painter did not focus his concentration on the least of the characters, but he had a different style about the painting.

The painting shows that the painter did not like the mixing of numerous colours in his painting, thus the paint has a "smell" of purity of colour with the inclusion of accuracy of lines and the ease of the narrative. The style of this painting can be described as the neo-classical style which belongs to the famous school of Jacques-Louis David. It is believed that it is in this school where Ingres trained and got all the skills to make all the incredible paintings he has ever done. Ingres painting of The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the Tent of Achilles was also influenced by John Flaxman, whose work has had its first Parisian exhibition.