Study for La Grande Odalisque
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867)
This study relates to Ingres’s celebrated masterpiece La Grande Odalisque (Musée du Louvre, Paris) which was commissioned by Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples in 1813 and depicts a reclining nude in an exotic harem setting. The drawing was owned by the Impressionist painter Edgar Degas and later by Samuel Courtauld. Degas admired the precision of Ingres’s linear style which here skilfully captures the s-shaped curve of the nude. Presented to the viewer in an attractive back view, the figure’s sensuality is underlined by the unnatural elongation of her spine.