Collection Online
oil on canvas
69.5 × 56.8 cm
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
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Collection of M. Roland-Gosselin (painted for Mlle Roland-Gosselin), 1858 then to Mlle Roland-Gosselin included in Ingres retrospective exhibition, L’Ecole de Beaux Arts, Paris, 1867, no .406 as La Sainte Vierge (owner M. Roland-Gosselin) collection of Baron and Baroness von Bodem, Vienna unknown private collection included in Phillips (dealer) sale, London, 14 June 2000, no 59 private collection, London 2000 from whom 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.