The La Grande Odalisque Painting

who was jean-auguste-dominique ingres?

Ingres was a Neoclassical painter, who followed the tenets of Academic art, but he was also known for his Romantic paintings.

historical overview

La Grande Odalisque was commissioned by the Queen of Naples Caroline Murat, who was Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister and married to Joachim Murat.

depicting orientalism

It is important to remember what we are looking at and that is not necessarily a true account of a Turkish concubine, but one embellished with the French’s cultural ideas and concepts of the subject matter.

formal analysis of the artwork

subject matter

The painting depicts a nude woman half lying down and leaning on her left elbow on a divan. She is reclining with her back to us, the viewers, but her head is turned so that she is peering over her right shoulder, looking directly in our direction.


There is a minimal utilization of color in La Grande Odalisque painting, and the color scheme that is visible appears delicately contrasted.


Ingres’ mainly applied curved lines (otherwise described as “sinuous”), especially noticeable in the unnatural curvature of the figure’s back, as mentioned above, but also echoed in the curves from the folds of the drapery and sheets.


Ingres painted in smooth and delicate brushstrokes to create varieties of implied textures, which all create realism in the composition.

shape & form

Ingres’ La Grande Odalisque painting consists mostly of organic shapes and form, which is mostly rounded and naturalistic, notably the main figure.


The painting is composed of nothing more than the nude woman, who is placed close to us, the viewers, in the foreground.