Ingres is famous for his nudes - and the Grande Odalisque is one of his most famous.
Commissioned by Napoleon’s sister, the painting reflects the public's fascination with the Middle East - in particular since Napoleon's victory in 1798 at the Battle of the Pyramids.
It also shows an evolution in the representations of the nude.
Ingres is taking the female nude - a subject usually limited to mythological representations - and transposes it to a contemporary (although exotic) environment.
The painting caused a scandal when it was first shown at the Salon of 1819.
Critics mocked its supposedly inhumane proportions - her twisted neck, her extremely long spine, the breast coming out from under her armpit, her leg bent at a strange angle…
Interestingly, these distortions were chosen by the artist - as the first sketches had perfect proportions.
Her stare is also intriguing - fixing the viewer in a detached, inviting or exasperated way - almost daring you to come closer or move on.