TITLE: “La Grande Odalisque”
ARTIST: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
WHY WE CHOSE IT: French Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (August 29, 1780 – January 14, 1867) was born on this day, 232 years ago.
According to the Louvre:
[“La Grande Odalisque”], his most famous nude, was commissioned by Caroline Murat, Napoleon’s sister and the queen of Naples. Here, Ingres painted a nude with long, sinuous lines bearing little resemblance to anatomical reality, but rendered the details and texture of the fabrics with sharp precision. This work drew fierce criticism when it was displayed at the Salon of 1819.
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.
SOURCE: Louvre Museum
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