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Odalisque

James Pradier1841

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

The woman’s face and the movement of her body invite a gradual discovery of her nudity. Seated on drapery on the floor, she seems to have been surprised during a private moment. The rose-decorated turban covering her hair, and her ostrich-feather fan, evoke the image of an odalisque. The word "odalisque" is derived from Turkish and refers to a woman living in a harem. This work is therefore reminiscent of 19th-century western artists who were inspired by oriental subjects—an often imaginary “otherness”—as demonstrated by this voluptuous nude, whose sensuality the sculptor, James Pradier, emphasized with his masterful working of the marble.

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