Portrait of Mlle Joséphine Nicaise-Lacroix
Signed, inscribed, and dated in graphite at the lower left, Ingres 1813 Rome.
Ingres frequently sketched his circle of friends and family, documenting their personalities and fashions in loving detail. Here, standing gracefully and shown in three-quarter length, is his future wife's cousin, Joséphine Nicaise-Lacroix (d. 1865). Joséphine stands against a Doric column while casually holding a small book in her left hand. Is her dreamy expression the effect of the novel that she has just been reading? Her otherwise idealized, moon-shaped face incorporates several highly naturalistic accents, such as a small blemish below her lip. This portrait remained in the sitter's family for over a hundred years before entering the Morgan in 1942.