Odalisque (1857) by Eugene Delacroix

Odalisque - Eugene Delacroix - 1857

Artwork Information

ArtistEugene Delacroix
Art MovementOrientalism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Odalisque

The artwork titled “Odalisque” was created by the artist Eugene Delacroix in 1857. This oil on wood painting is a product of the Orientalism art movement and falls into the genre of nude painting (nu). It is currently part of a private collection. This movement, Orientalism, pertains to the Western fascination with Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian cultures, often idealizing and exoticizing the subjects.

The painting presents a scene with a woman reclining in a languid pose, typically associated with the term “odalisque,” which referred to a chambermaid or a female attendant in the private quarters of the Ottoman sultan. She is depicted with a bare torso, wearing decorated pants that gather at the knees, leaving her legs bare. Her pose suggests a sense of ease and indolence, with one arm supporting her head and the other resting along her body. The use of color is quite vivid, with a striking contrast between the warm shades of the drapery and the cooler tones of the pants. The setting appears to be a luxurious interior, emphasized by the rich textures and patterns within the space.

Delacroix’s brushwork gives the painting a rather fluid and dynamic quality, which is characteristic of his style. There are elements such as jewelry, a water pipe, and slippers that underline the exotic context, which was meant to intrigue and stimulate the imagination of a European audience at the time. The painting, therefore, not only serves as an example of Delacroix’s skill and stylistic preferences but also reflects the 19th-century European artistic interest in Orientalist themes.

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