The nude figure was critical to the art of Edgar Degas throughout his life, and yet his expansive body of work on this subject has been overshadowed by his celebrated portraits and dancers. Degas and the Nude is the first book in a generation to explore the artists treatment of the nude from his early years in the 1850s and 1860s, through his triumphs in the 1880s and 1890s, all the way to his last decades, when the theme dominated his artistic production in all media. With essays by leading critics, the book aims to provide a new interpretation of Degass evolving conception of the nude and to situate it in the subjects broader context among his peers in 19th-century France. Among the scores of reproductions is one of the most important of Degass early paintings, Scene of War in the Middle Ages, which exerted a lifelong influence on the artists treatment of the female nude and includes poses poses repeated throughout his career. Also included are monotypes of the late 1870s, which illustrate Degass most explicitly sexual depictions of women in Parisian brothels, and pictures portraying the daily life of women wherever they resided. Together these iterations range over more than a half-century of virtuoso achievement and manifest a groundbreaking look at the evolution of this master artist.
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