Ingres The Source Analysis Essay

b. The time frame: When was this document produced? Is it contemporary to the events/issues it describes? In what context was it produced? How has it come down to us? Could it have been tampered with?

c. Place: Where was this document produced? Does the geographical location influence the content? Was this document meant to be public or private?

d. Category of document: What is the category in which this document falls (memoirs, poem, novel, speech, law, study, sermon, Church document, song, letter, etc.)? How would the type of writing affect the content and believability of the document? Is the document in the original language in which it was produced? Is the translation authoritative?

e. Audience: What is the intended audience of this document? Was the author representing a specific group? Or addressing the document to a specific group (or speaking to a specific group)?


Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (d. 1867) was a French Neoclassical artist who painted historical scenes and portraits and was a prominent contributor to the nineteenth-century artistic movement known as Orientalism. One of his favorite artistic subjects was the odalisque, a female servant living in an Ottoman household. An odalisque served a wealthy man’s wives and concubines; she was of low social status, but she could improve her station by becoming a concubine herself. This painting dates to 1842; Ingres completed an earlier version of it in 1839, which lacks the landscape background. Its principal feature is the nude odalisque lounging on a bed while listening to music played by a eunuch. This image projects a popular nineteenth-century Western interpretation of Middle Eastern culture, and it arguably reveals more about the European imagination than it does about the social reality of a private Middle Eastern residence. Informed by a fascination with the private spaces accessible only to women, the body of the sequestered Middle Eastern woman becomes a site for exotic fantasy in European art and literature. Alongside the prurient curiosity reflected in Ingres’ painting is the still-prevalent Western discourse of moral indignation directed primarily at Muslim men for their sexual objectification of women and denial of women’s rights and autonomy.  

Pilgrims Going to Mecca


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