Woman with a Bandage (1871 – 1873) by Edgar Degas

Woman with a Bandage - Edgar Degas - 1871 - 1873

Artwork Information

TitleWoman with a Bandage
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1871 - 1873
Dimensions33 x 24.8 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationDetroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, US

About Woman with a Bandage

The artwork titled “Woman with a Bandage,” created by Edgar Degas between 1871 and 1873, is an oil painting on canvas displaying the techniques and sensibilities of the Impressionist movement. Measuring 33 cm by 24.8 cm, this portrait is part of the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Michigan, United States.

As one examines the artwork, one’s attention is immediately drawn to the figure of a woman. The woman appears to be seated with her head turned slightly to the right, suggesting a candid, spontaneous moment rather than a formal pose. She is wearing a voluminous white headwrap or bandage, which envelopes her head and neck, connecting to the narrative implied by the painting’s title. Her attire is comprised of a beige or light brown blouse, which is rendered with loose, almost sketch-like strokes that are characteristic of Impressionist painting.

The artist has employed a palette of soft, muted colors which add to the gentle and calm character of the painting. There is a distinct feeling of intimacy and tranquility as the woman’s eyes seem to be gently closed or downcast, creating a sense of introspection or resignation. In the background, one can faintly discern objects that could suggest a domestic setting—a tea or coffee cup on the edge of a surface, which might indicate a table or a cupboard, further enhancing the private and personal nature of the scene.

Degas’ brushwork is fluid and somewhat imprecise in places, a hallmark of the Impressionist style, which aimed to capture the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere rather than the precise details of the subject. The identity and story of the woman depicted remain a contemplative mystery for the viewer, offering a glimpse into a personal narrative that is left largely to the imagination. This artwork exemplifies Degas’ ability to convey emotion and narrative through the subtleties of his Impressionistic technique.

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