La Grande Odalisque remake

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Searching around the internet and came across this image. It is a clear appropriation of the Orentialism painting La Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1814. An Odalisque is a female slave who acted as a chamber maid to the harem of the sultan, who hopes to become a concubine. The Odalisque was the lowest in the Turkish hierarchy, and the most subjugated. This painting draws off that idea as this woman looks like an old prostitute, that hasn’t gotten many breaks in life. There are subtle differences between the two paintings though. This woman is more emaciated, whereas the woman in the Dominique painting is fuller, healthier looking. Emphasis is placed on the beauty of the Odalisque’s long back arch, almost to the point where it looks too long for human proportion. The woman in this picture has an almost grotesque back with the entire vertebrate visible, and her bony arm is what seems to be out of proportion, extending down to the ankle. The background in this picture is very minimalistic where La Grande Odalisque has lavish garments and silks. These differences may be meant to show the societal disjunction between prostitutes in the East Orient and the Western world, where prostitutes are more accepted.  

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2 comments

  1. Great find, Andrew. I think you’re right to correlate the differences in perceptions about prostitutes and the manipulations that this artist made to the Ingres painting. This one seems to point to the realities about the harsh life facing prostitutes, whereas Ingres is depicting a fantasy – the one that western men would have had about life in a harem in the East.

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