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Edgar Degas was a powerful artist who was constantly able to portray any story throughout his work.
His pieces are often compared to his contemporaries Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet. While this group of artists are known for their Impressionism paintings, Degas preferred to refer to himself as a realist artist. Yet, many of his pieces had a livelier impressionist touch to them that veered away from the classic realist pieces during the 19th century. It was time for art to transform into a new domain, and Edgar Degas was right there to onset the change. The Pedicure is a stunning painting that shows the lively energy of Degas as he was able to add a certain touch to his work that revolutionized classic realism into something new. While the characteristics in the painting are carefully detailed, it’s quite evident that Impressionism was the main goal throughout the piece.
The painting showcases a young woman seated on a large couch as a man gives her a pedicure. The style of the piece looks greatly similar to some of the artist’s other pieces that include The Millinery Shop, Roman Beggar Woman, and A Grecian Dance. All of these pieces illuminate a specific scene that the artist desired to get through onto the canvas. The Pedicure follows this specific rule and tells the viewer a story of what is occurring in the scene. Evidently, a young woman is seated against a large floral sofa. This sofa is portrayed in a beige colour with a ruffled bottom. Small checkered floral cherry blossom pink details cover the surface. The woman is seated with a grand towel covering her body as she leans onto the couch.
Since her hair flows downwards in a free manner, it seems as if the woman has just taken a bath. As she dries herself in the white towel, she relaxes as she places her right foot onto a chair covered in cloth. Her other leg is hidden behind the immensely large towel. While Degas understood that the woman’s body was not the focal point of the piece, he carefully added immense detail into the towel covering her body. He carefully showed the folds and caverns throughout the towel, outlining the woman’s body. An older balding man knees beside the chair with his left hand hold her toes. His other hand holds a small pair of scissors that he uses to give the woman a pedicure. He gently looks at her foot as he’s seized in his craft. The woman on the other hand gently relaxed as she tilts her head onto the chair and stares at the man.
He is dressed in a black suit and has a moustache. It is unknown whether the man is the woman’s server, father, or love. Yet based on his attire, it seems as if he serves the young woman. Then again, as the woman is only covered in a towel, it is unknown of their exact relationship. The remainder of the painting is covered in soft pastel colours. The artist does not want to overpower the piece, and prefers to stick to soft shades. A green wall covers the background of the room. This gives the viewer an idea that they are spectating from the side of the room. This is the perfect angel to truly analyze what is going on. Near the left of the canvas, a table is filled with a black jug of water and a large bowl. It seems as if this is where the woman herself showers. Other elements fill up the room such as a grey table to the left, and a few paintings on the wall.