Portrait of Charles-Désiré Norry
Signed, inscribed, and dated in graphite, Ingres à / Mr Norry / Pere. / rome / 1817.
Purchased as the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Claus Von Bülow, 1977
Ingres's ability to distill on paper the personality of his sitter is exemplified by this portrait of Charles- Désiré Norry (1796–1818), the elder son of architect Charles Norry (1757–1832). Although he did not receive a Prix de Rome, the younger Norry traveled to Rome to study architecture and was granted quarters at the Villa Medici, likely owing to his father's intervention. At this time, Ingres was living nearby on the via Gregoriana, and the two likely met through mutual friends. Ingres conveyed his sitter's unhappiness through his depiction of Norry's puffed, round cheeks, pursed lips, and surly gaze. Perhaps Norry's unpleasant demeanor was a result of ill health—he was to die less than a year later.