Ingres’s Creoles (Secrets)
Art Matters Lecture with Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities, UC Berkeley
In 1836 Ingres ordered an artistic encounter between two Creoles who had both been born in Saint-Domingue, renamed Haiti. From Rome, the fifty-six-year-old painter exerted his power over an “homme de couleur” and a black man by orchestrating a confrontation that left both men in ignorance of its ultimate purpose. Ingres’s sixteen-year-old student Théodore Chassériau, was being told secretly to paint the celebrated black model Joseph, famously placed at the apex of Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa: “See to it that [Chassériau] keeps this absolutely the greatest secret. He should bar the idle from his studio at this time.” While refusing to share his intentions with either man, Ingres confided to a friend that the subject was “Christ Chasing the Devil from the Mountain. As for the pupil, he does not need to know this.” Locked behind closed doors and left in the dark as to Ingres’s plans, two Creoles – painter and model - confronted one another; this lecture considers their meeting in light of France’s history of slavery.
Mary Craig Auditorium
Free Students and Museum Circle Members
$10 SBMA Members