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1886, Degas, The Morning Bath

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1886, Degas, The Morning Bath

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Summary

Degas was drawn to the pastel medium because it provided both rich color and spontaneous line in the same drawn stroke. Here, the viewer’s unobserved glimpse of a nude bather awash in the soft morning light suggests an immediacy of vision that appealed to Degas, who wanted to capture the transitory quality of modern life. When the artist displayed this pastel, along with others of women bathing and drying themselves, at the Impressionist exhibition of 1886, its uncompromising realism provoked a tirade of negative criticism, resulting in the popular sobriquet La boulangère (The Baker’s Wife), deriding the nude’s unfashionably plump figure.
-gallery label from the Princeton University Art Museum

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1886
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Princeton University Art Museum
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