Although the work of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres seemed not to change radically throughout his lifetime and his work may appear to have little deep meaning, this paper will attempt to show otherwise through an examination of The Turkish Bath. Analysis of this painting shows Ingres’ careful planning in order to create not only the ultimate male fantasy, but also the ultimate culmination of his life experience. Here, an elderly Ingres has fulfilled his desires and displayed his body of work by reusing women and poses not only from past pieces, but also from his life. The work will be examined in terms of some of the most important influences on The Turkish Bath, including Ingres’ Renaissance idols and his past lovers, the symbolism of the painting’s circular shape, and the eventual purchaser of the work.
The Turkish Bath, painted sixty years after Ingres’ first Orientalist works, is the culmination of an artist’s fascination with perfecting and idealizing the female form. This paper will endeavor to show Ingres’ intent, as well as his genius in craftsmanship and depiction of the female form. It is my hope that this presentation will lead my audience to have further respect for the work of Ingres, a greater sense of the importance of The Turkish Bath as a tool for Ingres to vicariously relive his youth, and a better understanding of the influence of patronage on the arts.
Summer Trentin, ’00 Bagley, WI
Majors: Art, Education
Sponsor: Christina McOmber