Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

This sheet is a study for an unrealized painting commissioned by Charles Marcotte, Rome’s inspector general of waterways and forests and a great friend of Ingres’s. It depicts Santa Maria Maggiore’s Borghese (Pauline) Chapel, viewed from the church’s nave, during a devotional rite called the Quarantore that involves forty hours of continuous prayer. Although figures are scattered throughout the composition, the artist imbued the scene with a sense of calm and stillness, emphasizing architectural symmetry and the interplay of light and shadow.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
French, 1780–1867
The Borghese Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, 1824
Pen and brown ink, graphite, and brush and gray and brown wash, with red and ocher opaque watercolor, heightened with white opaque watercolor
Richard and Mary L. Gray, promised gift to the Art Institute of Chicago
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.