Skip to main content

Ingres as a Blasted Allegory

Buy Article:

$48.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


John Baldessari's concept of ‘blasted allegory’ forms the theoretical framework for a discursive reading of how Ingres has been revisioned by four twentieth-century artists: Pablo Picasso, who pays an ironic homage to the Old Master in his 1918 painting of Bathers; Cindy Sherman, who associates Ingres with the abject in her 1989 history portrait; Calum Colvin, who restages the Bain turc as a kitsch palace in his 1986 photo-construction; and Kurt Kauper, whose 1996–99 suite of paintings entitled Diva Fictions use a seduction of the signs to destabilize gender – imagine Ingres as a drag queen. These four case studies are looked at as a form of historiography, but what unfolds is perhaps better labelled hysteria-graphy since Ingres emerges as an hysterical discourse in the form of a ‘blasted allegory’. What gets ‘blasted’ is any notion of a monolithic definition or mastery of what all Ingres has come to signify within the context of twentieth-century art practices and their critical receptions. Both elevated and derided as the epitome of ‘high culture’, a return to Ingres is cast as reactionary (Picasso) and cutting-edge (Sherman and Colvin), and sometimes cutting-edge precisely because it is reactionary, and thus transgressive (Kauper and Picasso). Read in these opposing ways, the twentieth-century Ingres ends up a ‘blasted allegory’ with no singular, coherent truth.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: California State University, Long Beach

Publication date: December 1, 2000


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more