Thursday, December 2, 2010

Odalisque, Ingres

To begin, Odalisque means concubine and that is exactly what Ingres was unabashedly presenting. 

The body of this woman automatically appears "wrong" and for the first time, not just because she is nude and casting inviting eyes on her viewing audience. It is her nudity that helps the audience see the inaccuracies of her body. Ingres has taken the female form and represented it in an impossible way. The significant size difference between the top of her torso and her wide & large derriere seems incompatible. Her arms are extremely long and lack definition, as do her legs challenge the normal perception of space and flexibility. The curve of her spine is physically impossible and the core of her body is impossible long in addition to the strange proportions. However, it is this distortion of the female body that actually highlights the things found sensual about it. Ingres has taken the accustomed and appreciated form and simply exaggerated the suppleness, curves, and softness found so attractive about the female body. It makes sense that when this was first displayed, despite its inaccuracies, it was fondly received, especially by the male community. 

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