After the Bath (Woman Drying Herself) (c.1895 – c.1900) by Edgar Degas

After the Bath (Woman Drying Herself) - Edgar Degas - c.1895 - c.1900

Artwork Information

TitleAfter the Bath (Woman Drying Herself)
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1895 - c.1900
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationCourtauld Gallery, London, UK

About After the Bath (Woman Drying Herself)

The artwork titled “After the Bath (Woman Drying Herself)” is a pastel creation by Edgar Degas that dates back to approximately 1895 – 1900. It is a quintessential example of the Impressionism art movement, categorized within the nude painting (nu) genre. The artwork is currently housed at the Courtauld Gallery in London, UK. It presents a rich tableau that captures the intimate moment of a woman engaged in the act of drying herself after a bath.

The artwork vividly portrays the figure of a woman who is bent forward with a white towel in her hands, evidently in the process of drying her back. Degas’s masterful use of pastels has allowed him to capture the delicate interplay of light and shadow on the subject’s body, emphasizing the rounded contours and the soft texture of her skin in contrast to the towel’s crisper texture. Her face is turned away from the viewer, contributing to the sense of privacy and inward focus that characterizes the scene.

The color palette is a juxtaposition of warm oranges and yellows of the background with the cooler, pale tones of the woman’s flesh. This contrast not only draws attention to the subject but also creates a sense of depth and dimension. The background, though abstract, suggests an undefined space that allows the viewer to concentrate on the figure’s form and movement.

Degas’s composition is notable for its experimental angle and cropping, indicative of the influence of photography and Japanese prints on many Impressionist artists, including Degas himself. The artwork conveys a sense of spontaneous observation while also celebrating the beauty of the female form. Such pieces reflect Degas’s ongoing interest in capturing moments from daily life and his particular fascination with the theme of women bathing.

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