Odalisque with a Slave

7:00 AM

Jean Auguste Ingres, Odalisque with a Slave 1842

Odalisque With Slave 1839
Clearly one can see the neoclassical touches here: the architecture, style (including the slave and her garb and Odalisque's accessories), and the fact that Ingres thought it was good enough to paint it twice. This (the top) is the later, Ingres painting this one with two of his students. I liked the 1842 one more because of the addition of the garden, even though Ingres had no hand in painting the garden. There isn't much difference at all between the two, and depth of the garden isn't night and day for me, but I do appreciate it more because it shows off a bit more talent. 

The story from this pieces comes from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Turkish Letters in 1763. I read some of her letters of her travels for a while. The woman had some pretty great adventures. Though I couldn't find the exact part referencing her being serenaded in a bedroom, I did find her writing about her time at the Turkish Baths, though:

"In one of these cover'd Waggons I went to the Bagnio about 10 a clock. It was allready full of Women. It is built of Stone in the shape of a Dome with no Windows but in the Roofe, which gives Light enough. There was 5 of these domes joyn'd together, the outmost being less than the rest and serving only as a hall where the portress stood at the door. Ladys of Quality gennerally give this Woman the value of a crown or 10 shillings, and I did not forget that ceremony. The next room is a very large one, pav'd with Marble, and all round it rais'd 2 Sofas of marble, one above another. There were 4 fountains of cold Water in this room, falling first into marble Basins and then running on the floor in little channels made for that purpose, which carry'd the streams into the next room, something less than this, with the same sort of marble sofas, but so hot with steams of sulphur proceeding from the baths joyning to it, twas impossible to stay there with one's Cloths on. The 2 other domes were the hot baths, one of which had cocks of cold Water turning into it to temper it to what degree of warmth the bathers have a mind to."Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1 April 1717. 

This scene sets the tone that I see painted here, I can see the lavishness of the Baths and the heat and luxury odalisque is in. She has a face of peace and exhaustion about her, I can't tell if this is because she is being sung to sleep or because she is hot and tired. Either way, I see her just having gotten out of the baths and enjoying her Turkish adventure. even though I know that the painting was commissioned by King Wilhelm I of Wurttemburg this story creates a larger escape for me. Executed well and a fine product for its time, Ingres' Odalisque with Slave is brilliantly colorful and interesting.  

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