In 1814 Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres exhibited the painting "Grande Odalisque" to great controversy. This is not classicism, this is not a mythical nude from literature, but a courtesan who may have been alive at the moment of its painting. Today it is curious that such a tame reference to reality shocked the people of the day. Ingres did try to put some distance between the citizens of Paris and the woman shown in "Grand Odalisque" by depicting her as an exotic woman from another culture. In 1863 there was an even louder public outcry when Eduard Manet exhibited "Olympia," because the woman depicted in "Olympia" could actually be living amongst the viewers. Let's get back to my work. The reference to the "Grand Odalisque" is here because the woman in my painting, "Window," is elongated, and may be criticized for another reason viewers found Ingres's Odalisque disturbing. Like the Odalisque, my woman my have a few too many vertebrae. In any case, "Window" is, at last, becoming a substantial painting. The composition demands the stretch of the woman. Her elongation is required in order to play well against the men, who stretch across the upper half of the painting.
Two drawings were made yesterday. The first is more successful, and stands, by itself, as a work of art. The second drawing feels like "a study," and was immediately placed in the stack of drawings I file away from view.
For reference, after the images of my work, I show Ingres' "Grand Odalisque" and Manet's "Olympia."
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