While the painting drew acid criticism when first shown in 1814 ("She has three vertebre too many," "No bone, no muscle, no life"), Ingres's Grande Odalisque seems to sum up the painter's artistic intentions. Ingres treats the figure in his own "sculpturesque stlye" -- polished surfaces and simple rounded volumes controlled by rhythmically flowing contours. The smoothness of the planes of the body is complemented by the broken, busy shapes of the drapery. His subject, the reclining nude figure, is traditional enough and goes back to Giogione and Titian but by converting the figure to an odalisque (a member of a Turkish harem), Ingres made a strong concession to the comtemporary Romantic taste for the exotic. The work also shows his admiration for Raphael in his borrowing of that master's type of female head ,(Madonna of the Chair) but Ingres did not only draw from the period of High Renaissance. His figure's languid pose, her proportions (small head and elongated limbs), and the generally cool color scheme also reveal his debt to such Mannerists, as Parmagianino. Often criticized for not being a colorist, Ingres in fact had a superb color sense. It is true that he did not seem to think of his paintings primarily in the terms of their color as did Delacroix, but he did far more than simply tint his drawings for emphasis, as recommended by the Academy. In his best paintings, Ingres created color and tonal relationships so tasteful and subtle as to render them unforgettable.


Lometa. "Artists and Art in the Classroom" Tucson, Arizona.
1994. (Lecture presented at St Joseph's Catholic School.)

Justus, Kevin. "Art and Culture II." Tucson , Arizona.
1992. (Lecture presented at Pima Community College.)

De La Croix, Horst, Richard D. Tansey, and Diane Kirkpatrick.
Art Through the Ages. University of Michigan: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

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