DEGAS AND THE NUDEGEORGE SHACKELFORD & X. REY Book Number: 91337 Product format: Hardback
With contributions by Lucien Freud, Martin Gayford and Anne Rocquebert here is the classical body observed, exploited and exhibited and finally transformed. The nude figure was critical to the art of Edgar Degas from the beginning of his career in the 1850s but the subject had never been explored before in a museum exhibition. This book is the result of that exhibition, co-organised by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. 'Woman Having Her Hair Combed' is a superb example of a moment in time where post bathing a voluptuous young woman has her long red hair combed by the maidservant standing behind her. Nudes make up around one fifth of Degas's work and there are also countless drawings of nudes to add to that figure, many also reproduced in this beautiful volume. Young Spartans Exercising 1860-62 was reworked until 1880, a magnificent example of the bare breasted women to the left challenging the nubile group of young men completely naked to the right in an outdoors festival scene, a classical subject tinged with sexuality, here studied in close up detail and with some of the preparatory study drawings included. There is an extraordinary sequence of preparatory drawings for Scene of War in the Middle Ages 1863-65 showing the young nude women despoiled and disjointed, one with her head thrown back, legs stiffly spread intending the viewer to understand she is the victim of rape, perhaps dead or left for dead and the other young women comforting each other, or standing and bending, being shot by a bow and arrow and trampled by a horse giving the overall impression of violent tragedy. Whores waiting for clients, the Madame's Birthday, there are a series of monotypes stockinged nudes in their boudoirs plus of course the more famous Woman Leaving her Bath, Woman Drying Herself After A Bath, dressing, often stooped, side or rear view of the naked form. Whether engaged in shockingly carnal acts or just stepping out of an ordinary bath, Degas' late works transcend time and place, returning the nude to a world of private artistic enquiry. Here are his paintings, pastels, drawings, prints and sculpture including exquisite bronzes such as Young Girl Crying and of course his Dancers. 256 lushly rendered full colour images ranging over more than half a century of genius. 242pp, heavyweight lavish volume 25.65 x 28cm.
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Published price: £57
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