Large Orientalist painting of a reclining nude by Costa

By Costa, Giovanni (Italian, 1833-1893)


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The painting depicts a young woman reclining on a yellow-gold upholstered seat. The woman’s torso is nude and her lower body is covered by a piece of white drapery. She has dark curly hair which is tied up, and she wears a gold headpiece and hoop earrings. In her right hand, the woman holds a pinky-red feather fan. She uses her left arm to prop herself up on the chair. An incense burner and two roses are placed on a side table to the right. The woman is positioned before a deep blue wall hanging which is embroidered with green and red threads.

The woman depicted is most likely an Odalisque (a female concubine) in a Middle Eastern harem. The harem was the area in a Muslim household that was used exclusively by women and children. Male European Orientalist artists envisioned harems as exotic and erotic places where beautiful women bathed, relaxed and enjoyed one another’s company.

‘G. Costa’ is signed in the upper left corner of the canvas. Giovanni Costa (1833-1893) was an accomplished artist who was active in Italy in the late 19th Century. The painting is displayed in a giltwood frame which is elaborately carved with stylised foliage and scrollwork.

Canvas: Height 80cm, width 100cm, depth 2.5cm
Frame: Height 120cm, width 138cm, depth 20cm


Artist / Maker
By Costa, Giovanni (Italian, 1833-1893)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Old Master, Orientalist
Giltwood, Oil on Canvas
Gold, Multi-coloured


120 cm / 47.2 inches
138 cm / 54.3 inches
20 cm / 7.9 inches


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