Grande Odalisque is an oil painting produced in 1814 by French painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
Grande Odalisque also was known by the name Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque attracted wide criticism when it was first shown publically.
This painting was commissioned by Queen Caroline Murat of Naples who was also Napoleon’s sister and the picture got finished in 1814. Ingres go through upon works of other famous paintings such as Dresden Venus by Giorgione, and Titian’s famous Venus of Urbino as an inspiration for Grande Odalisque nude figure though the actual pose in the picture of a woman reclining figure looking back over her shoulder is directly drawn from the picture of Madame Recamier in 1809 by Jacques Louis David who was also a French painter.
Auguste Dominique Ingres portrays a concubine in languid pose as seen from behind with distorted proportions. The small head of the woman with elongated limbs and the color scheme reveals influences from Mannerists such as Parmigianino whose painting was also long famous for anatomical distortion, the Madonna with the long neck. The picture has been especially noted for the elongated proportions of the woman and the lack of anatomical realism and thus leads to its wide criticism.
The nude figure in Grande Odalisque was thought to be drawn with two to three vertebrae. Critics believed at that time that the elongations of the figure are errors on the part of Ingres but then recent studies show the elongations drawn have been deliberate distortions. Measurements are taken showed that Ingres’s figure drawn that of a real women with a curvature of the spine and rotation of the pelvis was impossible to replicate. The study by the critics believed that the figure was longer by five instead of two or three vertebrate
The work can be viewed at Louvre in Paris.