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Four Bathers by Degas and Bonnard

DATES April 20, 2011 through August 14, 2011
ORGANIZING DEPARTMENT European Painting and Sculpture
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  • Four Bathers by Degas and Bonnard
    In his celebrated series of bathers, the Impressionist Edgar Degas broke with a long tradition of depicting the female nude as a passive, idealized erotic beauty (as in the painting illustrated below, on view on the Museum’s third floor). Inspired by the new aesthetic of Naturalism, which in the 1860s and 1870s encouraged artists to redefine beauty in contemporary urban terms, Degas captured his models in action at extremely close range, in recognizable Paris interiors. Stripped of mythological and allegorical trappings, these bathers are familiar bourgeois women represented unconventionally amid their private, daily routines.