Crayon Painting: The Tub by Edgar Degas

In his later years, Edgar Degas put his main energy into the naked women. He was working much harder to liberate the nude paintings from the academic tradition. He constantly studied the form, light, movement, body organs and their roles. He tried to be a portrait painter of “people and beast”, but his admiration for the body’s organs and their actions and activities was so large, that the cold rational idea completely disappeared in his image.

Moreover, these images also reflected all of his enthusiasm, sometimes showed his entire struggle. From the beginning of 1880, Degas mainly painted crayon. Crayon paintings made him draw sketches and reached the rich color effect in the case of no damage to the sketches. The Tub was a crayon painting masterpiece with combination of light and form.

From the painting The Tub, he separated the bathing woman and the coffee set to form two layers in the plane. Meanwhile he used the fluctuations between the planes to form the jumping of the shallow space. This concept was the end for Renaissance space conception, which a crucial step was leading to the shallow space and plane in 20th century. We would also see the further development of this concept from the oil painter Cezanne. In the painting, Degas painted a nude woman who turned her back to the audience. Her left hand stood on the tub and right hand reached her neck. People were unable to see the face of this naked woman and her red brown hair was slightly lifted.

The Tub by Edgar Degas

The Tub

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