Woman in a Bath Sponging Her Leg (c.1883 – c.1884) by Edgar Degas

Woman in a Bath Sponging Her Leg - Edgar Degas - c.1883 - c.1884

Artwork Information

TitleWoman in a Bath Sponging Her Leg
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1883 - c.1884
Dimensions19.7 x 41 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Woman in a Bath Sponging Her Leg

The artwork “Woman in a Bath Sponging Her Leg” is a pastel created by the artist Edgar Degas between circa 1883 and 1884. It is a piece associated with the Impressionism movement and falls into the genre of nude painting (nu). This piece features dimensions of 19.7 by 41 centimeters and is exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

In the artwork, the viewer observes a female figure engaged in the intimate act of bathing. The focus of the piece is on the woman as she reaches down to sponge her raised leg, providing a study of human anatomy and the act of self-care. Degas captures the scene with a distinctive application of pastel, employing an array of gentle hues to depict the subject’s flesh against the soft tones of the water and the bathtub. The background bears subtle hints of a domestic setting, possibly indicating a private bathroom with discernible details, such as a towel or drapery and the edge of a framed artwork or mirror, that suggest the contours of a lived-in space. The work is characterized by loose, expressive strokes that give both texture and dynamism to the scene, a trademark approach that reveals Degas’s mastery in portraying movement and his insightful observation of everyday life. Overall, the artwork is a representation of a mundane moment elevated to the level of fine art through Degas’s impressionistic treatment and his skill in evoking mood and atmosphere.

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