ArtLex Art Dictionary

 

 

oOdalisque - A female slave or concubine in the harems of the Middle East, especially in that of Turkey's sultan.

The odalisque was a favorite subject of nineteenth century European artists, sometimes called orientalists, and was depicted as a reclining nude or semi-nude in typically Turkish surroundings. J.A.D. Ingres (French, 1780-1867) and Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954) each painted several odalisques.

 

Examples:

 

 

see thumbnail to rightJean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Workshop (French, 1780-1867), Odalisque in Grisaille, 1824-34, oil on canvas, 32 3/4 x 43 inches (83.2 x 109.2 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. Ingres produced this picture several years after painting the original color version, The Grand Odalisque, now in the Louvre. See gaze, grisaille and Neoclassicism.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftGuerrilla Girls, Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? 1989, advertisement. Asked to design a billboard for the Public Art Fund in New York, the Guerrilla Girls submitted this design. The PAF said it, "wasn't clear enough," and rejected it. The Guerrilla Girls then payed to post it on NYC buses, until the bus company canceled the lease, saying that the image, based on Ingres' famous odalisque, was too suggestive and that the figure appeared to have more than a fan in her hand. See feminism and feminist art.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightJean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Turkish Bath), 1862, oil on canvas on panel, 1.10 x 1.10 m, Louvre.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftRoger Fenton (British, 1819-1869), Reclining Odalisque, 1858, salted paper print from glass negative, 28.5 x 39 cm (11 1/4 x 15 3/8 inches), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See photography.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightAnthony Caro (British, 1924-), Odalisque, 1984, steel, 77 x 96 x 60 1/2 inches (195.6 x 243.8 x 153.7 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

Also see censorship, erotica and erotic art, feminism and feminist art, fig leaf, First Amendment rights, love, nude, and sybaritic.

 

 

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