So many museums display well-known works of art; these are sort of lures so a number of rooms are crowded while the rest are free of people. In Prado Museum, while the crowd surrounds the Jardin de las delicias by El Bosco (The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch) one can largely and quietly enjoy El triunfo de la muerte by Brueghel (The Triumph of Death by Pieter Brueghel the Elder), no pushing at all even if they are in front of each other. In Louvre Museum everyone feels compelled to stop by the Gioconda (in order to decipher an unreal mystery). Some rooms beyond, you can find the portrait of Monsieur Bertin, painted by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867). This is one of the best portraits made during the 19th century in Europe which can often be seen in solitude, in nearly perfect isolation. As the picture has never been shown in television and as no books have been written nor films been made, people are not interested in the portrait.
Self-confident, Louis-François Bertin was a writer and a journalist, a forerunner of nowadays press moguls with thick and strong hands and impossible hair. So often, Ingres denied his fame as a portrait artist, he much preferred to be considered a history painter. Despite his judgment we have paintings and even more, a huge and wonderful mass of pencil drawing portraits, many of those achieved during his long stay in Rome (1806-1824); artists, aristocrats and wealthy bourgeois travelled to Italy from all over the world to make the Grand Tour. Ingres accuracy is evident in all those drawings where details harmonize with subtle drafts and sketches. Among all portraits the one depicting the Montagu sisters has always deeply touched me. I am so really fond of the girls posing with their naturalness and grace, the wonderful dresses and the tenderness of the French master.