OIL PAINTING: Woman Combing Her Hair, 1806
Degas executed in pastels a series of nudes getting washed, who seemed to be unconcerned at being observed. "Until now, the nude had always been depicted in poses suggesting an audience, but my women are simple, honest people attending to nothing more than their physical existence. This is one of them: she is combing her hair. It's as if you were looking through the keyhole".
The perspective, seen from above, by which the shelf on which the comb and towel stand seems to be vertical, was inspired by the format of Japanese prints - we know that Degas had hanging over his bed a print portraying women in a bath-house. The technique of using pastels, which he would resort to more and more often as the years went by, enabled him to shape the supple, full bodies in such a way that the subtle nuances of light and shade reproduce the texture of the skin.