Apr 25, 2012

Les Femmes Du Maroc: La Grande Odalisque

Les Femmes Du Maroc: La Grande Odalisque


Lalla Essaydi

(Moroccan, b. 1956)

Chromogenic print mounted to aluminum with a UV protective laminate

Overall: 76.2 x 101.6 cm (30 x 40 in.)

The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2012.13



Adapted from the renowned French neoclassical painting La Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867), this photograph belongs to a series that reflects the complex female identities in the Muslim world. Inspired by her journal, Essaydi swathed the woman’s body with Arabic text using henna—associated with special celebratory events such as puberty, marriage, and bearing a first child when the feet and hands are decorated during female festivities. Similarly in Iran, paintings of stories in illustrated manuscripts were frequently adapted from established compositions from the 1300s through the 1600s, as seen in the examples nearby.

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