Madame Moitessier is an oil painting produced in 1856 by French painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
The picture was left unfinished by Ingres and after waiting seven years the sitter complained. Ingres painted a standing portrait of Madame Moitessier in 1851(currently, National Gallery of Art, Washington) before returning to the seated portrait, the second version which he finally completed in 1856. The original intention of Ingres had been to include the sitter’s daughter Catherine who was little by the time Ingres came to complete the portrait she had grown up and thus Ingres left her out of the portrait.
The painting is influenced by the art of antiquity and the renaissance. The pose of Madame Moitessier with the hand touching her cheeks is derived from Herculaneum, an ancient Roman fresco of a goddess. To Ingres, Madam Moitessier represented the ideal of classical beauty. Titian’s famous painting ‘Portrait of a Lady’ inspired Ingres to add the mirror in the background of this painting.