Description & Technical information

This drawing is a study for the hands of the Virgin in Ingres’s painting of The Virgin Adoring the Host, which is known in two versions; one commissioned by the future Czar Alexander II in Rome and completed in 1841, which is today in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and the other, a circular composition commissioned by the State in 1851 and completed three years later, which is now in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Similar hands also appear in a finished watercolour version of The Virgin Adoring the Host, in the Prat collection in Paris, and in a large oil sketch of The Virgin Adoring the Christ Child in a private collection in New York, which has been dated to c.1839 and regarded as a première pensée for the Pushkin painting. 
 
It can be noted that the hands in this drawing are close to those of the standing Virgin in a preparatory chalk study, today in the Musée Ingres in Montauban, for Ingres’s 1824 altarpiece of The Vow of Louis XIII, painted for the cathedral in Montauban. A nude figure drawing of the praying Virgin with similar hands, which has also been related to the The Vow of Louis XIII, is in the collection of the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva. In the final painted version of The Vow of Louis XIII, however, the Virgin is no longer shown in prayer, but instead holds the Christ Child. Ingres may have also used this drawing, or a similar one, between 1822 and 1827, when he painted an oval Virgin with a Blue Veil for the Marquis Amédée de Pastoret; the painting, in which the hands are likewise very close to those in this drawing, is today in the Museu de Arte de São Paulo in Brazil. A pencil tracing of the praying hands in the São Paulo painting, of similar dimensions to the present sheet, is among the very large cache of drawings by the artist in the Musée Ingres in Montauban.

Medium: Pencil
Signature: A made-up section at the lower right corner.

Dimensions: 23.3 x 14.4 cm (9¹/₈ x 5⁵/₈ inches)
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints