Joseph-Antoine Moltedo 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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Joseph-Antoine Moltedo was a French businessman who had inroads with the Romans. He was born in 1775 and grew to be an inventor and an enterprise mogul both in France and Rome.

He held various positions in his budding carrier, among them the Director of the Roman Post Office and an agent representing the French Clergy at the Catholic Headquarters at the Vatican. The portrait was done in 1810 on canvas using oil. Its original dimensions were 75.2 centimetres by 58.1 centimetres. Ingres did this painting in his formative years where it received commendation from the French ruling elite. It was exhibited in New York at the French Art Museum in 1926, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York in 1930 and the Loan Exhibition in New York in 1941. The last known exhibition was at the Musee de Louvre in Paris on May 24, 2006.

Of all neoclassic painters, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was big on people. His paintings showed different shades of people in various states. From drawings and paintings of people going about their work to posing for a photo, Ingres had fully understood how to paint humans. The portrait of Joseph-Antoine Moltedo is one of them. The portrait was painted around the same time as portraits of Napoleona Elisa Baciocchi, Countess Daru, Second Lieutenant Charles Legrand, General Claude Legrand (both in 1810). Before that, there was the portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, Jerome Bonaparte (both in 1808) and the Equestrian Portrait of Prince Boris Yusupov. Other painting genres during this period are the Romulus’ Victory over Acron (1811), Virgil reading The Aeneid before Augustus and Octavia and Livia (1812).

He thought of himself as the history painter and his paintings and drawing of prominent people in the society lived to that bidding. He was schooled by Jacques-Louis David and learned through the influence of Nicolas Poussin in Paris. His switch to Rome intensified his style to create a complex Italic and Flemish genre that would dictate his artistic career. His efforts were recognised and subsequently bestowed as the Neoclassical Leader in France in 1824. Earlier on he had won the Prix de Rome in 1801. He also held influential positions such as the Director of Roman French Academy. His works were seen through his mentees such as Raymond Balze, Theodore Chasseriau, Jean-Hippolyte and Eugene Emmanuel Duval. The Joseph-Antoine Moltedo portrait has exchanged hands since its inception. Currently, it is held in trusteeship by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, United States.