Portrait of Hippolyte-François Devillers, 1812
Signed, inscribed, and dated in graphite at lower right, Ingres. a rome / 1812.
After completing his tenure as a pensionnaire at the Villa Medici in 1810, Ingres remained in Rome to work on imperial commissions and to paint and draw portraits of French occupation officials and their families. The Eternal City was a hotbed of young Frenchmen without noble titles but brimming with ambition, seeking to advance themselves professionally, socially, and financially. One such foreigner was Hippolyte-François Devillers (1767–1837), who was sent to Rome in 1811 to serve as the director of Probate and Estates; he would sit for Ingres on at least three occasions. Pictured here as a bachelor at the age of forty-seven, Devillers appears somewhat nervous and delicate, as if he has not quite gained confidence in his new office.