After the Bath (c.1890 – c.1895) by Edgar Degas

After the Bath - Edgar Degas - c.1890 - c.1895

Artwork Information

TitleAfter the Bath
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1890 - c.1895
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationFogg Museum (Harvard Art Museums), Cambridge, MA, US

About After the Bath

The artwork “After the Bath” is a creation of Edgar Degas, dating back to the period between circa 1890 and circa 1895. This particular piece is rendered in pastel, which was a favored medium of Degas, especially in his later years. The piece is associated with the Impressionism art movement, a style characterized by its vivid use of color and light as well as the depiction of modern life. The genre of this work is nude painting (nu), and it is currently housed at the Fogg Museum, which is part of the Harvard Art Museums located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.

In the artwork, there is a lone figure of a woman captured in a moment of private intimacy, her back presented towards the viewer. The subject is seated on some sort of drapery or a soft surface, with her arms gently resting on a nearby object, perhaps a basin or a furniture piece. The curvature of her spine and the musculature are softly defined by the pastel, suggesting the soft glow of skin after bathing. The brushwork is both detailed and impressionistic, leaving an interplay of colors and light across the canvas. The background consists of warm, contrasting colors, typical of Impressionism’s engagement with light and shadow, formulating depth and texture in the scene. The application of pastels creates a tactile quality that evokes the sensation of the woman’s supple skin and the fabrics around her.

Degas’ fascination with the human form, particularly the female nude, is evident here as he focuses on the play of light over the contours of the body. The composition demonstrates the artist’s skill in rendering the human figure as well as his innovative approach to capturing everyday scenes with both tenderness and a sense of immediacy.

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