The Turkish Bath by Ingres: description and curiosities about the painting

bagno turco | Ingres

THE TURKISH BATH BY INGRES: EVERYTHING YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THE PAINTING

The Turkish Bath by Ingres is an exercise of imagination!
It’s one of those masterpieces originated from the creative mind of a great artist who, inspired by the description given by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador to Turkey, painted a Turkish bath exactly like he imagined it, and without ever having seen one.
In this post I want to tell you some curiosities about this painting.

The Turkish Bath by Ingres

Ingres | Bagno Turco

Ingres, Turkish Bath (detail)

When Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador to Turkey, described in her letters the Turkish baths in Constantinople, she didn’t believe that she could inspire the creation of a masterpiece.

THE TURKISH BATH BY INGRES: DESCRIPTION

Ingres depicted a Turkish bath exactly like he imagined it, by reading the description given by the wife of the ambassador, and painted all the details Lady Mary had described in her letters.
In the background are women lying on pillows; in the foreground the painter places a tray carrying coffee and perfumes, and in the centre of the scene is a woman with Western features and blonde hair. That woman with her arms folded, like she wanted to cover herself, is Lady Mary.

We can describe the Turkish Bath by Ingres as the result of all artistic experiences of the artist, because in this painting there are all the elements which make his painting great, and you can also notice some female figures that have already appeared in previous works.
In fact, it seems that his famous Odalisque is one of these girls, and if you open the post The Grande Odalisque by Ingres: meaning and description, you’ll immediately understand what I’m referring to.

READ ALSO- Neoclassicism: what it is and when it developed 

WHO COMMISSIONED THE TURKISH BATH BY INGRES

The artist was commissioned the painting from Prince Napoleon Bonaparte, cousin of Napoleon III, to give it as a gift to his wife Maria Clotilde, who, however, wasn’t happy to hang in her residence a painting depicting some women completely naked and in too sensual positions.
And so it was that the painting was replaced by a self-portrait by Ingres and the artist brought the painting back to his studio.

The Turkish Bath by Ingres had to wait ten years before finding a buyer, that was the Turkish ambassador to Paris Khalil Bey, whose collection included “L’ Origine du monde” (“The origin of world”) by Gustave Courbet.

bagno turco | Louvre

Ingres, Turkish Bath (details)

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE TURKISH BATH BY INGRES

The Turkish Bath by Ingres has been housed in the Louvre Museum since 1911.
My advice to you is to book your entrance ticket to the Louvre Museum in order to skip the line.
You’ll find all information about booking your ticket in the post Louvre tickets: how to buy your ticket to skip the line.

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