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Odalisque in Grisaille by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Odalisque in Grisaille, 1824

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

This painting expresses the artist’s conception of ideal beauty. The model’s skin looks like marble in places, such as her right arm, which she’s draped languidly across her body, and in others, her body has the soft play of light and shadow that makes it seem alive. Her pose suggests a combination of modesty and teasing; one breast is almost, but not quite, exposed. Her expression is inscrutable — is it resentful? Coy? Bored? The painting is an unfinished “repetition,” not an exact copy, but a work inspired by a much larger, and very famous, painting that hangs in the Louvre.

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