large odalisque what kind of painting is i
The painting was presented at the 1819 Salon and judgements weren’t all positive, and in particular, the artist was criticized for not having described accurately the anatomy of the body of the Grande Odalisque. In addition the odalisque shouldn’t be nude because odalisques are always dressed inside the harem.
In front of a beautiful woman such as the Grande Odalisque by Ingres I can’t help wondering who she is and why an artist decided to paint her giving her immortality.
Portrait of Madame Moitessier (1856) by J.A.D. Ingres.
Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David.
Stemming from the initial criticism the painting received, the figure in Grande Odalisque is thought to be drawn with “two or three vertebrae too many.”   Critics at the time believed the elongations to be errors on the part of Ingres, but recent studies show the elongations to have been deliberate distortions.  Measurements taken on the proportions of real women showed that Ingres’s figure was drawn with a curvature of the spine and rotation of the pelvis impossible to replicate.  It also showed the left arm of the odalisque is shorter than the right. The study concluded that the figure was longer by five instead of two or three vertebrae and that the excess affected the lengths of the pelvis and lower back instead of merely the lumbar region. 
Grande Odalisque attracted wide criticism when it was first shown. It is renowned for the elongated proportions and lack of anatomical realism. The work is owned by the Louvre Museum, Paris which purchased the work in 1899.
Instead, Ingres has created a cool aloof eroticism accentuated by its exotic context. The peacock fan, the turban, the enormous pearls, the hookah (a pipe for hashish or perhaps opium), and of course, the title of the painting, all refer us to the French conception of the Orient. Careful—the word “Orient” does not refer here to the Far East so much as the Near East or even North Africa.
It would be easy to characterize Ingres as a consistent defender of the Neo-Classical style from his time in David’s studio into the middle of the 19th century. Remember that the Apotheosis of Homer dates to 1827. But the truth is more interesting than that.
Department of Paintings: French painting