Near the end of his life, he made one of his best-known masterpieces, The Turkish Bath. It reprised a figure and theme he had been painting since 1828, with his Petite Baigneuse. Originally completed in a square format in 1852 and sold to Prince Napoleon in 1859, it was returned to the artist soon afterward—according to a legend, Princess Clothilde was shocked by the abundant nudity.
After reworking the painting as a tondo, Ingres signed and dated it in 1862, although he made additional revisions in 1863. The painting was eventually purchased by a Turkish diplomat, Khalid Bey, who owned a large collection of nudes and erotic art, including several paintings by Courbet. The painting continued to cause a scandal long after Ingres was dead. It was initially offered to the Louvre in 1907, but was rejected, before being given to the Louvre in 1911.
The Turkish Bath (Le Bain Turc) is an oil painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. It depicts a group of nude women in the bath of a harem, and is painted in a highly erotic style that evokes both the Near East and earlier western styles associated with mythological subject matter. Painted on canvas laid down on wood, it measures 108 x 108 cm.
The work is signed and dated 1862, when Ingres was around 82 years old, and was completed in 1863. In that year Ingres altered the painting's original rectangular format, and cut the painting to its present tondo form. Photographs of the painting in its original format survive.
It seems based on an April 1717 written description of a Turkish harem by Lady Mary Montagu, where she mentions having viewed some two hundred nude women. The painting develops and elaborates a number of motifs Ingres had explored in earlier paintings, in particular his 1808 The Valpinçon Bather and Grande Odalisque of 1814.
[Contradicting other sites, this article goes on to say:] Its erotic content did not provoke a scandal, since for much its existence it has remained in private collections. It is now in the Louvre, Paris.