Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French Neoclassical painter. Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, it is Ingres's portraits, both painted and drawn, that are recognized as his greatest legacy.
Ingres was profoundly influenced by past artistic traditions, and aspired to become the guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style, exemplified by Eugène Delacroix. His expressive distortions of form and space made him an important precursor of modern art, influencing Picasso, Matisse and other modernists.
Born into a modest family in Montauban, he travelled to Paris to study in the studio of David. In 1802 he made his Salon debut, and won the Prix de Rome for his painting The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the tent of Achilles. By the time he departed in 1806 for his residency in Rome, his style—revealing his close study of Italian and Flemish Renaissance masters—was fully developed, and would change little for the rest of his life.