Collection Online

Virgin of the Adoption

oil on canvas
69.5 × 56.8 cm
inscribed in black paint l.l.: J Ingres P.iXT / 1838 (ÆTaTis) LXXVIII.
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
In honour of Professor Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC, CBE, FAA, FRS, Chairman of The Felton Bequests’ Committee from 1975 to 2004. Felton Bequest, 2005
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
Not on display

Collection of Alexandre Roland-Gosselin (1786–1866), Paris and Chateau de la Petite Roseraie, Châtenay-Malabry, Hauts-de-Seine, France, 1858–66; by descent to his daughter, Marie Alexandrine Roland-Gosselin (1851–1932), until 1932; collection of Baron and Baroness von Bodem, Vienna; unknown private collection; included in the 19th Century British and European Paintings sale, Phillips, London, 14 June 2000, no 59; private collection, London, 2000; from where acquired for the Felton Bequest, 2005.


The notion of ideal beauty exudes from this painting as Ingres deploys the purest forms of line and colour to compose a classicising image of silent sanctity. Yet, she is not presented in a frontal pose typical of Renaissance Madonnas. Instead Ingres paints her with a slight three-quarter stance that allows her head to incline gently. Ingres hints at a more sensual image of the Virgin and disturbs the purity of her features by lifting the eyelids and parting the lips. The more ‘palpable’ rendering of this portrait provides an archetype of the tone sacred art in France adopted during the nineteenth century.