The art world frequently struggles with change, and on exhibiting Grande Odalisque for the first time, many considered this painting to mark a new artistic direction for Ingres. Sadly for him they did not approve of where he was now heading. Some of the anatomical elements of the female model were elongated beyond reality, something which reminded them of the increasingly-influential Romanticist art movement. Whilst we are not talking about the extremes of artists such as El Greco, one can still quickly identify the elements of this painting that the critics would have been referring to.
Was Ingres now re-inventing himself as a member of this movement and leaving Neo-Classicism behind? He was only in his mid-twenties at the time of this painting, to be fair, and so an element of experimentation and variety at this stage of his development should not have been a particularly great surprise to anyone. This type of criticism aimed at expressive elements of his style would continue for at least another decade, though it never truly impacted his work and he was happy to continue this new direction. Over the course of his career Ingres would switch between portraiture and history paintings many times but his style within that only developed slowly and subtly.