Gérôme's depiction of a young woman in the hammam in the company of her attendant epitomises the bath scenes central to his work in the 1880s and 1890s, and which built on the success of his most celebrated bath scene, La Grande piscine à Bursa shown to great acclaim at the Paris Salon of 1885.
Gérôme had visited Bursa in modern-day Turkey in 1879, but already the genre of the Turkish bath was well established. Delacroix, Ingres, and Chassériau had received critical acclaim for their various nudes set in Turkish interiors. Ingres' famous rendition of this subject in 1862 is an exotic fantasy of voluptuous flesh and writhing bodies. In contrast, After the Bath seems devoid of lasciviousness, the figure seen in a quiet moment of solitude.
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