Madame Maison by Hippolyte Flandrin, 1852
The placement of the sitter within the boundaries of the canvas, her eyes on a line that forms a square within the rectangular format, creates a riveting effect. A subtle contraposto animates the figure’s gesture. The placement of the hands, the left one dominant and graceful, keep the eyes of the viewer circulating around the canvas. The folds of the dress are designed with as much care and skill as Ingres lavished on his paintings. The accuracy and breadth of drawing and modeling are characteristic of Flandrin’s best work. The sitter is portrayed naturally, with little of the excessive stylizations that drain the character from the heads in some of Ingres’ female portraits. The neutral color harmony is enlivened by the bright accents of the red shawl and the blue hair ribbons. He retains the sitter’s character while obtaining an exquisitely beautiful breadth and simplicity of modeling.
Comtesse Maison was the sister of Mathilde Maison, also painted by the same painter. See my previous post here.