Odalisque in Grisaille

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Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Odalisque in Grisaille, ca. 1834-34, Oil on Canvas

This painting is an unfinished repetition, reduced in size and much simplified, of the celebrated Grande Odalisque of 1814 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), a work that was central to Ingres’s conception of ideal beauty. Ingres cited it in a list of works he executed in Paris between 1824 and 1834, a period bracketed by lengthy sojourns in Italy. Paintings in shades of gray—en grisaille—were often made to establish variations in tone as a guide to engravers of black and white reproductive prints. As this work has not been linked definitively to known reproductions of the Grande Odalisque, its intended purpose remains uncertain.

Description: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The simplicity, minimalism and cool monochromatic palette of this study, void of all embellishment and focussing on the model`s brilliantly lit-up body, fascinates me even more than the celebrated finished work.

August 27th, 2016