at their Toilette...in preparation for Leisure
Stepping into a Tub c1888
turns to the nude, but it is not overly erotic. Here, a woman gets ready to enter the bathtub. Degas was more interested in studying
bodies in motion than he was in the particular eroticism of the scene.
careful study of motion was probably aided by the use of the camera,
which Degas used as a complement to his oil paintings and pastel drawings
a simple act as entering the bath would not have been considered a
worthy theme for the Salon.
Drying her Foot 1885/6
natural gesture of reaching out to dry one's foot is captured in
Degas' pastel of this nude.
The pose may have been taken from a photograph
that Degas took of a model in a similar position, found at his studio.
The photograph is a mirror image of this pose. There is nothing allegorical or heroic about this figure,
in contrast to Delacroix's Liberty Leading
the People (1850).
Rather, it shows the rather strenuous stretch one must make
to reach one's foot--a gesture that is probably performed daily.
the Hair c1896-1900
on in the laborious process of a bourgeois woman's toilette, this
young woman allows her hair to be combed at home by her maid. At the time, this may have been considered a symbol of status--however,
the woman shows herself in a vulnerable state by crouching down in
order to make herself beautiful.
This is also a study in motion, as the woman
who is combing her hair interlaces with the woman who is being combed. Degas practiced depicting motion, in
grand or small scale , throughout his career.
He may have also
been making a social commentary.
Lady with the fans 19thC
is a portrait of Nina de Callios, a pianist and patron of the literary
arts, who was the estranged wife of Hector de Callias, a journalist.
The process of the toilette is done: she is dressed in exotic North
African clothing, which was very fashionable at the time.
She was very wealthy and the mistress of the poor poet Charles
Cros, who was not the only poor poet she slept with and subsidized as
part of her harem. This painting was not shown in the Salon because
her husband made Manet promise that it would never leave his studio.