Turkish Bath

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Interpreting The Turkish Bath
In Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ 1862 painting titled The Turkish Bath, Ingres demonstrates his view on a harem scene. Ingres uses many different techniques to evoke the use of the five senses, keeping the viewer in tune with his ideas and also allowing his viewers to be able to fully imagine themselves as part of his work. Ingres also uses a circular theme throughout his painting. The circles seem to create a softer, more relaxed atmosphere, again guiding his observer’s imagination. It becomes clear when examining this painting that Ingres wanted his audience to feel they were part of this scene.

There are many parts of this image that appeal to ones senses. The first and most obvious sense that he is summoning is sight. The repeated use of circles creates a soft, flowing image. It makes the painting visually pleasing. The posture and rounded backs of the woman in the scene create a very relaxed atmosphere. There are no loud or bright colors distracting your attention. These visual characteristics make it seemingly easy to imagine yourself as part of his work. The woman caressing each other and the closeness between them is representing touch. By painting the woman so close it allows us, as the viewer to feel the warmth of the atmosphere. Ingres also allows us to taste and smell this act by placing a tray of food at the forefront of the painting, and by painting the figures misting themselves with perfume and burning incense. One of the bathers to the left of the painting is standing up and what appears to be dancing. There is another woman, seated in the front with her back facing the viewer playing a guitar, almost allowing the onlooker the ability to hear the music. By Ingres’ artistic and subtle way of appealing to the senses, he is allowing others to become part of his work by providing them the ability to truly become lost in his work.

Ingres’ The Turkish Bath painting also displays the consistent use of...
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