Edgard Degas after spending a lot of time painting pictures with ballet scenes, and later focusing on other types of women to make his works on ironers, he chose other types of models and of environments.
After the bath, woman wiping Degas's feet
he Focused on women in the bathroom, taking care of their hygiene at home. And he de alt with the subject in a sequential way. In other words, through this type of painting we can see the entire process carried out by women at the end of the 19th century to wash at home. Thus there are paintings such as The bathtub or Woman drying herself after the bath. There are also other pictures in which we see them preparing the water at the appropriate temperature or combing their hair. And in the case of the work that we bring here, we see how the woman has already come out of the water and is drying her feet. A painting that Degas made in 1887 and is currently owned by the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
The scene was captured with the rapid technique of pastel, as in many of the images of this theme, and because of the many essays and drawings that have been saved, the painter took some quick sketches from the models on the whole process, and then to give them that touch of immediacy, he finished them off with pastel paintings.
The truth is that it is a further step in Impressionism. Degas is no longer satisfied with painting for an instant, and those sketches and life notes confirmthat he seeks to recreate a whole succession of moments, hence we see the same woman in different positions and complying with all the phases of her intimate hygiene. Degas yearned to transform the painting into reality.
he does not hesitate to paint energy and body weight, but also light, which varies from impasto and pastel strokes. He doesn't want static or traditional poses, that's why his poses are sometimes uncomfortable, but for him they serve to create extraordinary compositions, as in this case.
We see that he has turned the image into a circular pattern, everything seems to wrap around and revolve around the naked girl. A girl whose figure the artist has outlined with a darker line that surrounds all the warmth of her body. A body that in turn is framed by the white tone of the towel on which she sits in the chair, and to the left is the faded yellow color of the chair. In this way, that yellow, the white and the red of the feminine skin stand out against a background in which we see several colors (ochres, creams, greens…) but that among all of them make up an interesting neutrality whose only function is to give all the protagonism to that woman who sits, crouches, turns her back on us and dries her feet with care, without paying any attention to the spectators.