After the Bath (1890-1895) is an artwork from a series of sketches, studies, and photographies that Edgar Degas made of women leaving the bath and drying themselves. He would paint the women lying, leaning forward, and crouching in poses that suggest that they were behaving naturally, not paying attention to a possible viewer. Edgar Degas was known for picking these unorthodox moments, where women wouldn’t be posing in elegant, graceful poses. At first, he was heavily critiqued for these representations, but this view eventually made of him one of the most important urban painters of all times.
After the Bath is among the most complex pieces from this series. It has intricate lines and a varied color palette. While several of the pieces would show limited colors or sketchy lines, this one displays several colors and tones. We can see the woman’s back, her hands holding a towel, a part of her chest and a little bit of her face covered by her ginger hair. The lines in this piece are not traced and defined, as the artist worked with volume instead. The shapes of the body and the background are delimited by the contrast between the colors. The drawing was built with small traces, so the final piece has a textured result, a very Impressionist trait, even though the artist always tried to stay away from this title.
The woman’s body was painted with a beautiful peachy skin tone, lightened by yellow and white areas that contrast with the dark orange and brown shades. The forms of her backbone, muscles and chest are visible and detailed. Her orange hair is put up in a knot. The background was beautifully designed with a yellow wall, which shows a composition of blue, orange and green lines with a closer look. At this time, Degas was producing profound studies of using complementary colors to shade his paintings, and this is evident in this piece.
There is the white bathtub in front of the woman, and behind her, a thick red curtain. The folds of the curtain are also shaded in its complementary shade of blue. The curtains show thickness and volume, as it does the bathtub. The white towel that the woman holds up occupies the foreground, and there is a yellow mass of cloth in front of it.
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