After the Bath (c.1890 – c.1893) by Edgar Degas

After the Bath - Edgar Degas - c.1890 - c.1893

Artwork Information

TitleAfter the Bath
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1890 - c.1893
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationNorton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA, US

About After the Bath

The pastel work titled “After the Bath” was created by Edgar Degas, a prominent artist associated with the Impressionist movement. This artwork dates from approximately 1890 to 1893 and forms part of the genre known as nude painting (nu). This piece is currently housed at the Norton Simon Museum located in Pasadena, California, United States. The genre and medium suggest a focus on form, light, and the exploration of the human figure in a moment of privacy and relaxation.

In the artwork, we observe the depiction of a female figure in the midst of personal ablutions. The subject is captured from behind, as she bends forward, her torso and head angled away from the viewer, perhaps in a moment of drying or grooming. The model’s face is obscured by her arm and the hair flowing over her shoulder, directing the focus to the curvature of her back and the play of lighting across her skin. Degas’ use of pastel allows for rich textures and vibrant colors, with the soft medium lending a tactile quality to the flesh and fabrics within the scene.

The background remains purposefully indistinct, composed of loose strokes and muted contrasting colors that prevent it from detracting attention from the central figure. Degas’ impressionistic style is evident in the expressive brushwork, visible in the rendering of the towel or cloth that the subject holds, and the diffused sense of light that permeates the composition. The work is characteristic of Degas’ interest in the human body in repose and his ability to capture the intimacy of such everyday scenes with masterful attention to details of form and color.

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