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Art / Grande Odalisque

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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.

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.


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Grande Odalisque provides examples of:

  • Art Imitates Art: Much like various other historical examples of the Reclining Venus, Ingres admitted that his primary inspiration for Grande Odalisque was Dresden Venus and Venus Of Urbino.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Various art critics have pointed out that by the woman's design, she has five more vertebrae in her back than any real human woman would have.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The hookah, peacock fan and bejeweled turban where all added to the picture to create a cultural distance, making the figure seem Turkish instead of French and thus lessoning the scandal of the nude figure.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Much like The Nude Maja, the painting drew up a lot of controversy in the fact that the nude figure is looking straight at the viewer, giving the nudity a lack of the sacred detachment foreign and mythological nudes had.
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  • Reclining Venus: One of the more famous examples of the pose, Grande Odalisque stood out as being an example taken from behind the woman much like Odalisque

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