Eye of the Odalisque (Odalisque #19)
Multi-colored geometric pattern with eye in center; yellow, blue, pink, green.
Originally a term for chambermaids living in female sequestered quarters of female members of the Turkish court, the term “odalisque” later came to refer to a harem, slave, or concubine, in Renaissance France. From an obsession with private spaces accessible only to these women, the body of these Middle Eastern women became a site for exotic fantasy and an object of male sexual gratification in European art and literature. While nude women in art goes back to antiquity, images of the odalisque represent the experience of women imagined by their male viewer. The women become alienated from their reality, objects of the male voyeur. This painting Eleanor Van Haitsma asks the viewer to questions what they are seeing. Whose eye is at the center of the painting- who is watching who, and what are they seeing?