Born in Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, France, he had his academic training in the Toulouse Academy then went to Paris in 1796 to study under Jacques-Louis David. He soon left the studio involving a difference of opinion on style. Ingres's style was more flat and linear, and focused on contour.
He won the Prix de Rome in 1801 and his masterpiece, the Grande Odalisque, a harem girl with too many vertebrae, hangs in the Louvre. The textures in the painting are painted intricately. One can get a sense of the texture of the fabric and the smooth skin of the girl. The elongated features are reminiscent of old Mannerist painters. Ingres was searching for the pure form of his models.