After the Bath (c. 1879) by Edgar Degas

After the Bath - Edgar Degas - 1895

Artwork Information

TitleAfter the Bath
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions8 1/4 x 6 1/4 in. (21 x 15.9 cm)
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate collection, New York

About After the Bath

“After the Bath” is an evocative artwork created by the renowned artist Edgar Degas in the year 1895. This piece is exemplary of the Impressionism movement and portrays the nude genre with finesse. The artwork is modest in size, measuring 8 1/4 by 6 1/4 inches (21 by 15.9 cm), and is held in a private collection based in New York.

The artwork captures the intimate moment of a woman in the act of drying herself after a bath. The figure is positioned with her back to the viewer, her body slightly turned, as she reaches across to dry her back with a towel or cloth. The pose of the figure is dynamic, suggesting movement and the natural actions of the body in this private setting. Degas’s use of color and light is with a soft, pastel palette, creating a sense of warmth and the hazy atmosphere typical of a steam-filled boudoir or bathroom. The textures are rendered with expressive, gestural strokes, creating a tactile quality that emphasizes the softness of flesh and the absorption of light. The background appears to be minimalist, with subtle shifts in color and tone that enhance the focus on the subject, without detailed contextual surroundings.

The impressionistic approach emphasizes not the precise anatomical depiction but the sensation and emotion of the moment. The work’s small dimensions contribute to its intimacy, encouraging the viewer to step closer and engage with the subtle details and the sensual curves of the form. Degas’s bold yet delicate treatment of the nude form in “After the Bath” is both a testament to his mastery of pastels and his progressive approach to the subject matter, which challenged the conventions of nude portraiture at the time.

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