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Edgar Degas adored showcasing the nude female body throughout his work. He felt that the female body had more grace and life to it, and commonly placed it throughout each piece of work. Whether it was a nude female, or a young ballerina, we was transfixed by their nature.
Woman At Her Toilette is a significant piece as it belongs to a grand collection of work by the artist. Other paintings with a similar feel include After The Bath, Seated Bather, and Woman Having Her Hair Combed. These stunning artworks examine the beauty of a woman on her own bathing; created with pastel shades. Woman At Her Toilette has an exact similar feel to the work as the other paintings do as well. The art work showcases a woman who has just finished bathing and is now drying herself with a large white towel. The woman throws her towel behind her back and gently pulls on it side-to-side with her arms. As the perspective of the painting is based from the corner of the room and slightly above eye level, the viewer is able to gain the perspective as if someone was there watching her.
The woman is standing nude with her back turned away from the viewer and towards a large mirror. She arches her back as she uses the towel to dry herself. The artist placed a light source near the front of the woman. Therefor Degas uses immense shade and contouring to illustrate the woman’s back. Lines going down her back expose her spine. The woman’s curves gently fall towards her legs on which she stands. Thin red skulls cover the toes of her feet as she dries her body. As it was often common to have both one’s bed and washroom within the same room, Degas depicts this scenario. A large bowl is placed on the floor in which the woman used to bath. It has a dark blue perimeter with a black sponge placed within. Towards the front of the woman, a large bowl stands as a sink, near a jug of water. A few bottles of products lightly line the table in front of the mirror.
It feels as if the woman is unaware of the viewer looking at her. Instead she is slowly analyzing her body in the mirror in front. Her hair falls towards the top of her back in a chestnut brown shade. Near the right of the painting, a white gown fills the screen. To the left, the woman’s bed is neatly covered in white sheets. Degas had quickly created this pastel piece to pay tribute to his original work in this form. It is unknown who the woman working the artwork is, and whether she’s a character of his imagination.
The floor is covered in a lively red and purple pattern. Rich pastel shades merge into one another creating a lively coloured floor. Degas uses linear messy strokes of pastel colours to showcase the walls of the room. Based primarily in orange, black, yellow, and red lines illuminate through the canvas. Finally, near the left of the room a large white door is flung open. This makes the viewer wonder if the woman is alone at home and is not worried that someone will come in. Or perhaps if her significant other is already in the room. Based on the perspective of the artwork it seems as if someone is viewing her. Perhaps Degas created this artwork based on his point of view. This significant element can be endlessly debated. However, Degas successfully created the illusion of an altered perspective.