The Odalisque and the Slave, Ingres

The Odalisque and the Slave, Ingres
The Odalisque and the Slave, Ingres

Throughout the 19th century many artists, especially those adhering to the romantic trend, sought inspiration beyond European borders by turning their eyes towards the Eastern world, it was precisely this trend known by the nickname of orientalism, which influenced artists as prominent as Delacroix. However, we also find other painters who, without being romantic -the romantic aesthetic advocated allowing themselves to be influenced by the exotic in the face of the weariness that the society of their time produced in them- also succumbed to the oriental style, so we can find neoclassicist works inspired by this exotic world.

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Ingres (1780 – 1867) is one of the best representatives of academic painting and one of the artists who took theEastern worldas a reference for his compositions. Ingres was born in Montauban, the son of a second-rate artist who was soon able to recognize the talent of his offspring. His artistic training began at the Toulouse Academy but he soon moved to Paris to join the workshop of one of the geniuses of neoclassicism Jacques Louis David. With a scholarship in Rome, the artist stayed in Italy for several years where he was able to see the paintings of the Renaissance masters, especially those of Rafael de Sanzio, for whom he felt a special predilection.

Influenced by precisely by theRenaissance tendencies the artist directed his art towards drawing supremacy, a fact that makes it difficult for us to classify it within a specific artistic style: although some of his themes, such as odalisques, are typical of the romantic painting, his style based on drawing was more typical of neoclassicist academicism.

On this occasion we analyze one of the works that Ingres painted on the odalisques. The odalisques were women who were part of the harem of the Ottoman sultans, they were not really concubines but rather assistants to the concubines hoping that one day they would acquire the new rank of lover of the sultan. The subject was very ideal for contextualizing the female nude that so obsessed the artist.

On this occasion the artist makes an oil on canvas in a horizontal format and medium size that barely reaches a meter in width and is about seventy-two centimeters in height. In it we see how a slave appears playing a stringed instrument while the odalisque, a voluptuous young woman with a whitish incarnation,languishes erotically on the bed. Her long blonde hair falls sweetly on the sheets and on her body you can see a sepentinata line that the artist has taken from classical compositions.

Ingres's painting is well known for not conforming to reality, in the bodies of his women it is easy to guess unrealistic elements that the artist introduces for the sole reason to create a beautiful element despite moving away from aestheticsrealistic.

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