ingres odalisque painting
Portrait of Madame Moitessier (1856) by J.A.D. Ingres.
For more about the impact of Ingres’ art on twentieth century artists, see: Classical Revival in modern art (1900-30).
Ingres portrays a concubine in languid pose as seen from behind with distorted proportions. The small head, elongated limbs, and cool color scheme all reveal influences from Mannerists such as Parmigianino,  whose Madonna with the Long Neck was also famous for anatomical distortion.
Grande Odalisque, also known as Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque, is an oil painting of 1814 by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres depicting an odalisque, or concubine. Ingres’ contemporaries considered the work to signify Ingres’ break from Neoclassicism, indicating a shift toward exotic Romanticism.
Department of Paintings: French painting
This woman lying on a divan is offering herself because she is nude and turns her face towards us. The painting’s title, which means “harem woman,” and the accessories around her conjure up the sensuous Orient. But the woman is also discreet because she shows only her back and part of one breast. The nude was a major theme in Western art, but since the Renaissance figures portrayed in that way had been drawn from mythology; here Ingres transposed the theme to a distant land. The subject of the odalisque fascinated Boucher in the eighteenth century and was later chosen as a theme by Théodore Chassériau (1819-1856), one of Ingres’s pupils. Throughout his career, many of Ingres’s works feature Orientalist themes, such as The Turkish Bath (Louvre), which he painted towards the end of his life. The female nude, historical scenes, and the portrait were Ingres’s favorite genres.
The foreground remains completely unlit, bringing attention to the long and sensuous body of the odalisque. It seems a spotlight has been cast directed on her body, specifically lighting and drawing attention to the area he elongates – her back and pelvis area, and her arm.
It has been noted by some art historians that the elongation of the odalisque’s back and pelvic area were not only drawn to satisfy Ingres’ quest for an ideal form of the female body. Ingres was well-known for the way in which he reflected his subject’s social condition through his paintings.
Titian, Venus of Urbino, 1538, oil on canvas, 119.20 x 165.50 cm (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence)
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, La Grande Odalisque, 1814, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 63″ (91 x 162 cm), (Musée du Louvre, Paris)