Leaving the Bath (1885) by Edgar Degas

Leaving the Bath - Edgar Degas - 1885

Artwork Information

TitleLeaving the Bath
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism

About Leaving the Bath

The artwork “Leaving the Bath,” created by Edgar Degas in 1885, is a consummate example of the Impressionist movement and classified within the genre of nude painting (nu). Degas, renowned for his contributions to Impressionism, often explored the human figure in his works, capturing moments of daily life with a vivid sense of realism and spontaneity.

In “Leaving the Bath,” the viewer is presented with an intimate scene featuring the back view of a nude woman as she bends forward, presumably having just left her bath. Degas masterfully employs pastels to achieve a rich texture and to convey the softness of skin against the backdrop of a distinctly impressionistic environment. The warm and cool tones juxtaposed in the composition produce a sense of depth and dimension. Degas’s deft strokes and the unfinished peripheries of the composition are emblematic of the Impressionist technique, which values the capture of light and the immediacy of the experience over the precision and detail characteristic of earlier painting traditions.

The handling of light and shadow in the artwork is subtle, suggesting the interplay of natural and artificial light sources, which may be inferring the interior setting. This piece exemplifies Degas’s fascination with the human form and his adeptness at portraying the female body in a variety of poses and actions, such as this private moment of everyday routine.

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