Woman washing in the bath (1892) by Edgar Degas

Woman washing in the bath - Edgar Degas - 1892

Artwork Information

TitleWoman washing in the bath
ArtistEdgar Degas
Mediumcolored pencils,pastel,cardboard
Dimensions31.8 x 47.4 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Woman washing in the bath

The artwork titled “Woman washing in the bath” is a creation of Edgar Degas dating back to 1892. It is rendered using colored pencils and pastel on cardboard. Measuring 31.8 cm by 47.4 cm, this piece can be classified under the Impressionism movement and belongs to the nude painting (nu) genre. The original can be found in the Musée d’Orsay, located in Paris, France.

In the artwork, one observes the figure of a woman engaged in the intimate act of bathing. The artist has captured her in a moment of everyday life, with an emphasis on naturalism and the play of light. The subject is depicted with a strong emphasis on her back, the curvature of her spine, and the muscles rippling beneath her skin, hinting at the movement and the form of her body as she bends forward. Her head, slightly obscured and bowed forward, adds a touch of modesty and focus on the act of washing rather than the identity of the woman.

The pastel hues provide soft, textural qualities that are characteristic of Degas’ work, with warm and cool tones contrasting and complementing each other. A backdrop with a fiery orange hue cuts across the piece, possibly suggesting the warmth and steam of the bath setting. The use of line and shading creates depth and dimensionality, while the lack of definitive backgrounds maintains focus on the figure herself. Degas’ adept use of the medium allows for a fusion of color and contour, which contributes to the quiet yet evocative feel of the piece, a hallmark of the Impressionist movement’s fascination with capturing fleeting moments and the effects of light.

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