Odalisque with Slave Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Odalisque with Slave is one of several paintings produced by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres along this same theme, with this particular iteration being completed in 1839. Each version featured an Odalisque on her bed but the content around her in each scene.

Grande Odalisque needs no introduction to followers of Ingres' career, but there is still considerable importance attached to the alternative painting that we find here, in Odalisque with Slave. The scene captures a young guitarist playing music to the resting young lady whilst a eunuch looks on. The interior of this room suggests it is a harem and the overall style is very much in keeping with Ingres' entire career, being a combination of Orientalism and Neo-Classicism.

It was unfortuante for him that during his own lifetime, Romanticism was dominating France and Germany, but he continued down his own path regardless. He felt it both a priviledge and duty to protect the traditional forms of art, and continued this into his tutoring of young students once his career was established. The painting that you find here actually represents years of study and experimentation on much the same topic. His Grand Odalisque came as early as 1814, with this piece coming some two decades later. This artwork is delivered by an artist who understands Orientalist art, but had never travelled to the region himself.

The object and styles that he incorporated would have come from other artists and also some exposure to literature, perhaps even some word of mouth about these contrasting cultures. The public at home would have been fairly naive at that point about foreign cultures and so would be unable to point out any inaccuracies. The image below features a larger reproduction of the original painting and allows us to really appreciate the stunning detail across the composition that was added by the artist.

Odalisque with Slave in Detail Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres