Letter from Ingres to Marie-Anne-Julie Forestier, 19 October 1806, page 1
Gift of the Fellows, 1968
In this long, melancholy note to his fiancée, Ingres laments his intense homesickness during his first days in Rome. He had arrived the previous week to begin his residency at the Villa Medici, after a long journey via Turin, Milan, Lodi, Piacenza, Parma, Reggio, Modena, Bologna, and finally Florence. He writes, "I lie down from nine at night until six in the morning, I do not sleep, I roll around in my bed, I cry, I think continuously of you...." Nine months later, Ingres would break his engagement, citing his unwillingness to return to Paris after the negative reviews his paintings had received at the Salon.
Rome, 19 October 1806
My beloved, my good Julie, you are an angel on earth. How you make me aware of my failings! How sorry I am to have doubted for a moment your tender feelings toward me, but also what happiness is mine to hear your tender assurances. No, my dear, do not regret having poured out your heart with the one who loves you and who exists and lives only through you and for you. My charming friend, do not express regrets toward me. I will never keep any secret from you, you'll always see my whole soul. May it be the same on your part. Tell me the least pleasure as well as the smallest sorrow. I will comfort you the best I can, until the tenderest vows unite us forever. It is I who am unhappy my dear friend, not to see you any more; you can't possibly conceive of it, to the point that if I could afford it, I would return to Paris, only for you my kind friend. I have read a hundred times this lovely writing in pencil; I shift continually from the letter to the portrait. I seem to see you, I speak to you, but, alas, you do not answer; at my home there is only a sad silence interrupted by the sound of a bell or rain falling in torrents, accompanied by a thunder that seems to foreshadow the destruction of the entire world. I go to bed at nine o'clock at night and until