Even more than the dancers, the scenes of horse racing and urban life, or the portraits that made him famous, the nude was the genre Degas used to introduce new ideas and develop his style over the course of almost fifty years. Degas was noted for his innovative temperament, which expressed itself in many different areas. The works brought together here have been selected because they show the variety of techniques that Degas tackled in his search for new expressive possibilities. In addition to drawing and painting, the artist was particularly fond of pastel as it could be used spontaneously with no preparation or drying time, giving him the option to rework the image. Degas was also renowned for having rediscovered the principle of the "monotype", a print that does not require engraving, which he sometimes highlighted with pastel. He also tried his hand at etching, lithography and particularly at sculpture, which increasingly occupied him as his sight failed in the late s. Degas no longer put forward an idealised nude, but rather a representation of the naked body, unheard of until then.
Sinking into the almost too-hot bath, aches melting from my desk-weary muscles, I nodded politely to the women opposite. Half-familiar from the neighbourhood, we agreed that the waters were surprisingly hot, all the while submerging our bare shoulders just a little deeper. Steam-filled and tranquil, public baths in Japan have been a haven from the stresses of daily life for more than 1, years. While the natural hot springs known as onsen are familiar worldwide, and can be private or public, there are also the lesser-known sento — public baths relying on regular, filtered water. Found in almost every neighbourhood and requiring complete nudity, both types of communal bathhouses have a set of strict rules on washing etiquette before entering the pristine, soap-free waters and offer a space for friends, families and even co-workers to relax and connect. These days, nearly every home in Japan has a deep-set tub perfect for a private soak and the popularity of a public dip is waning , but nowhere near as much as you might expect. View image of Many sento are adorned with nature scenes on the walls Credit: Credit: Stephanie Crohin. Onsen, which source mineral-rich spring water heated by natural volcanic activity, are the luxurious option for bathers in Japan.
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After the Bath, Woman drying herself is a pastel drawing by Edgar Degas , made some time between and It has been in the collection of the National Gallery, London since The work depicts a woman sitting on white towels spread over a wicker chair, with her back to the viewer. Her body is arched and slightly twisted, creating a tension in her back, accentuated by the deep line of her backbone. One hand dries her neck with a towel, presumably after getting out of the tin bath in the corner of the room. The other arm leans out to hold onto the chair for support. The space is defined by the vertical and diagonal lines where the floor and walls meet. The drawing was made on several pieces of paper mounted on cardboard.