The present marble is a very beautifully executed figure of an Odalisque, a popular type of 19th century Orientalism. An Odalisque is a female slave, a member of a Turkish harem. Particularly detailed and fine carving can be seen in the strands of hair, the folds and pattern of the fabric and the flower held in the proper left hand. The marble epitomises Romanelli’s ideas of sculpture. The subject of the marble, Sulamitide, is inspired by the 18th century author Giuseppe Maria Ercolani’s play La Sulamitide boschereccia sagra di Neralco - pastore arcade, published in 1732, about a son of the king of Egypt during the time of Solomon.
This marble compares closely with one of Romanelli’s most famous models of the kneeling figure Ruth. Both the present model and Ruth were later copied by Pasquale’s son Raffaello. A version of the Sulamitide by Raffaello, was sold at Sotheby’s London on 16 November 2006, lot 44.
V. Vicario, Gli Scultori Italiani dal Neoclassicismo al Liberty, Pomerio, 1994, vol. 2, pp. 897-900
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