Odalisque

DEFINITION

A romanticized depiction of 19th century virgin female slave figures often found as attendants in Ottoman seraglios. They were popular subjects for artists who did Orientalist-theme paintings such as Frederick Bridgman, Francois Boucher, Hovsep Pushman,and Jean Leon Gerome. Traveling through Algiers and Cairo, Bridgman developed his signature painting ideas, which were odalesque and other female motifs---"the interior lives of women...whether in actual harem scenes in which several women lived under the husbandry of one man or simply the day-to-day lives of mothers and children in their homes. Bridgman practically defined the genre of the Near Eastern female scene. While access to such places as private homes or interior courtyards has been characteristically difficult even for locals, let alone foreigners, artists like G??r??me and Bridgman seemed to have faired better than many others in befriending locals and earning their trust enough to sketch and paint their private homes. This implied impenetrability or the ???secret life??? of the odalisques became a great rage in Europe, and artists like Bridgman had no trouble in finding eager buyers" for their pictures. Elements that he often used in great variation in his Odalisque paintings included "seated women around a low table, mothers and daughters doing household chores, or relaxing in the afternoon in open patios or near the sunlight of an open courtyard." Source: Quotes from AskART biography by Abby M. Taylor,Fine Art; Wikipedia (LPD)

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