French painter and writer. A student of Ingres, he first
exhibited at the Salon in 1830 with a portrait of a child. He continued
exhibiting portraits until 1868. Such entries as M. Geoffroy as Don
Juan (1852; untraced), Rachel, or Tragedy (1855; Paris, Mus.
Comédie-Fr.) and Emma Fleury (1861; untraced) from the
Comédie-Française indicate an extended pattern of commissions from that
institution. His travels in Greece and Italy encouraged the Néo-Grec style
that his work exemplifies. Such words as refinement, delicacy, restraint,
elegance and charm pepper critiques of both his painting and his sedate,
respectable life as an artist, cultural figure and writer in Paris. In
contrast to Ingres’s success with mature sitters, Amaury-Duval’s portraits
of young women are his most compelling. In them, clear outlines and cool
colours evoke innocence and purity. Though the portraits of both artists
were influenced by classical norms, Amaury-Duval’s have control and
civility in contrast to the mystery and sensuousness of Ingres’s.
The Birth of Venus
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