the grand odalisque analysis
Cos’è quell’oggetto che la grande odalisca tiene in mano ?
Perfection in describing the details of fabrics, jewels and objects surrounding the woman compensates for flaws in anatomy, criticized at the 1911 Salon, but which make this painting very sensual.
Portrait of Monsieur Bertin (1832) by J.A.D. Ingres.
La Grande Odalisque is a more explicit nude than the restrained Valpincon Bather, so Ingres transposes it to an orientalist setting, and significantly elongates the figure’s torso, in order to demonstrate that this is a fantasy woman in a fantasy picture, not a real nude woman. (Note: Research shows that the figure was drawn with curvature of the spine, a distorted pelvis, five extra lumbar vertebrae, and one arm – the left – shorter than the other. This was done not because Ingres was ignorant of anatomy, but purely for stylistic effect.) In 1819, however, the year that the Odalisque was submitted to the Paris Salon, neither the French Academy nor the critics understood Ingres’s style. As a result they criticized him for distorting anatomical reality.
Ingres actually returned to Neo-Classicism after having rejected the lessons of his teacher, David, and after having laid the foundation for the emotive expressiveness of Romanticism, the new style of Gericault and the young Delacroix that Ingres would eventually defend against. Ingres’ early Romantic tendencies can be seen most famously in his painting, La Grande Odalisque of 1814.
Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker provide a description, historical perspective, and analysis of Ingres’s La Grande Odalisque.
Next to the portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte – Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres‘ Grande Odalisque is widely considered to be the artist’s best-recognized work. The masterpiece was created on commission by the Neapolitan Royal Family. Ingres initially traveled to Naples in early 1814 to paint Queen Caroline Murat – Napoleon’s sister, and the Murat family ordered additional portraits as well as three smaller scaled works: The Betrothal of Raphael, La Grande Odalisque, and Paolo and Francesca.
“The beautiful is always bizarre.”
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.
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.