Woman Drying Herself (1886) by Edgar Degas

Woman Drying Herself - Edgar Degas - 1886

Artwork Information

TitleWoman Drying Herself
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, US

About Woman Drying Herself

The artwork “Woman Drying Herself” is a celebrated pastel by Edgar Degas, created in 1886 and considered part of the Impressionism movement. This nude painting (nu) is part of the collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, located in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

The artwork captures a private moment, depicting a woman drying herself after a bath. Degas’s use of pastels endows the scene with a soft texture that highlights the flesh tones and evokes a sense of warmth and intimacy. The figure is shown in a dynamic pose, her body twisted as she reaches around to dry her back with a towel. The motion is frozen, yet it suggests the continuation of movement beyond the confines of the frame.

Characteristic of the Impressionist style, the female form is rendered with spontaneous, yet precise strokes, emphasizing the play of light and shadow over the contours of her body. The background is muted, a blend of colors that both contrasts with and complements the central figure. This selection of color and lighting focuses the viewer’s attention on the naturalism of the figure, an introspective moment that traverses beyond mere physicality to capture a slice of human experience. Degas’s approach reflects a keen observation of the human form and its articulation in daily life, a common theme in his broader body of work.

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