Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas Woman Seated on the Edge of the Bath Sponging her Neck oil on canvas 20"x24" 1880

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) brought the subject of the female nude into the present, his women not illustrating any biblical or mythological story but instead often simply...bathing. These two paintings and a sculpture are lesser-known works, but so beautifully drawn and composed.

A lifelong loner, he was an ardent lover of the female form but is said to have never loved a woman intimately. The personalities of these bathing women seems completely beside the point, although this is hardly atypical for male painters of the female form. 

In this well-known statement, Degas likens the nude woman to an animal:

 "Until now, the nude had always been shown in poses that presuppose an audience. But my women are unpretentious people... I show them without vanity or affectation, like animals". 

I will say that many of his revealing portraits of clothed women prove Degas was capable of great sensitivity towards his subject. Also, we are all essentially animals, are we not?

Edgar Degas Woman Drying Herself pastel? 1884

Edgar Degas Le Tub bronze (originally mixed-media) 8.5" x 17 7/8" x 16 5/8" c. 1886

Art is vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it.

-Edgar Degas

Inspired by Jon Redmond's paintings, the month of November will be dedicated to the theme of "The Nude". (I've decided to include swimsuits!) Please email me your suggestion (not your own work please) with a few words to decribe why you like it.

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