Theodore Ralli was the one of the most prominent Greek artists of the 19th century, who painted in a strongly Academic vein and enjoyed considerable success at the Paris Salon, where he exhibited in the 1870s.
Ralli showed the same rigorous approach to technique as his master Jean-Léon Gérôme, but his eye was less detached than that of his master. Unlike the marmoreal beauties of his French contemporaries, his odalisques, of which the present work is a typical example, exude languor and moodiness.
The contraposto pose of Ralli's figure gives her an erotic quality, exaggerating the sinuousness of her form, and thrusting her chest -- the curves of which echo her undulating hips -- into the foreground. Her face, rather than sourced from the antique, has a realistic quality which establishes her as a modern, rather than idealised, woman.