[Daily article] June 11: Portrait of Monsieur Bertin

Portrait of Monsieur Bertin is an 1832 oil-on-canvas painting by Jean-
Auguste-Dominique Ingres. It depicts Louis-François Bertin
(1766–1841), a writer, art collector and director of the pro-royalist
Journal des débats. Having achieved acclaim as a history painter,
Ingres accepted portrait commissions with reluctance, regarding them as
a distraction. The painting had a prolonged genesis; he agonised over
the pose and made several preparatory sketches. The final work presents
Bertin as a personification of the commercially minded leaders of the
liberal reign of Louis Philippe I, emanating a restless energy. He is
physically imposing and self-assured but his real-life personality
shines through – warm, wry and engaging to those who had earned his
trust. The portrait is an unflinchingly realistic depiction of aging;
Ingres emphasises the furrowed skin and thinning hair of an overweight
man who maintains his resolve and determination. Although Bertin’s
family worried that the painting might been seen as a caricature, it is
widely regarded as Ingres’ finest male portrait and has been at the
Musée du Louvre since 1897.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


Inspecting a new prison without being escorted by his
bodyguard, Alexios Apokaukos, megas doux of the Byzantine Navy, was
lynched and killed by the prisoners.


Afonso died at age two, leaving his father Pedro II, the last
emperor of Brazil, without a male heir.


The six-day Gal Oya riots, the first ethnic riots targeting the
minority Sri Lankan Tamils in post-independent Sri Lanka, began,
eventually resulting in the deaths of at least 150 people and 100


The University of Alabama was desegregated as Governor of
Alabama George Wallace stepped aside after defiantly blocking the
entrance to an auditorium.


Two earthquakes struck northern Afghanistan, triggering a
massive landslide that buried a village and killed 75 people.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

Strength of mind; great courage or fearlessness; fortitude. […]

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  They say princes learn no art truly, but the art of horsemanship.
The reason is, the brave beast is no flatterer. He will throw a prince
as soon as his groom.  
–Ben Jonson

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