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Virgin of Humility
The Museum's dated 1866 drawing of the Virgin is unquestionably related to Ingres's painted images of Mary. However, the distinctly intimate and private significance of the drawing is confirmed by the affectionate inscription dedicating it to Ingres's goddaughter Cecile, the daughter of his favorite discipline, Hippolyte Flandrin. While the theme and composition resemble the painted versions, the Virgin depicted in the drawing is noticeably less hieratic, formal, and remote. With his idiosyncratic use of contour lines, modeling, and geometric concerns, Ingres further abstracted the Virgin's appearance. At the same time, in keeping with his painting style, he devoted an inordinate amount of attention to such realistic details as the intricate folds and drapery patterns of Mary's dress and veil. The architectural setting of a niche, indicated behind the figure, also relates the drawing to several of the completed oil versions of the Virgin with the Host. In fact, the Museum's drawing closely corresponds to Ingres's last painting of the subject, the Virgin with the Host now in the Musée Bonnat, Bayonne, which was completed within weeks of the artist's death in January 1867.
from Spiro, Nineteenth-Century French Drawings (Notre Dame, 2007)