Degas “Reclining Nude”


Edgar Degas, “Studies of Nude”

Just imagine that “Reclining Nude” is covered by something like artificial fog – an opaque/cloudy as if veil – blurring the features of the female figure and our visual field. May be, Reclining Nude is “protecting against” the viewers through a semi-transparent optical obstacle, a form of soft isolation.

But let’s return to the “Studies of Nude”. Of course, we will not spend ourselves viewing the woman/mother with baby (with all their attractiveness) or even with the amazing legs of the girl closest to us in spite of the fact that the upper part of her body is kidnapped from our visual field. But we’re absolutely overwhelmed by the lying nude protecting and at the same time attracting us by the particular pose of her body.

The girl’s right arm is, as if, covering her body and her two legs interlocked block her potential openness while her left arm is reinforcing her two legs-two arms combination by keeping her foot as a guarantor of comfort. The static dynamism of the girl’s body makes the intensity of her self-protection dynamic. Her body became gently intense. Her body became, as if, acting, as if, active. To such a degree that her body that is protecting her is activated, as if, stretching into the world, lifting/stretching up!

Is it possible to create such a miracle? We don’t see the girl’s face. But we’re learning about her… face, as if, we have seen it, know it. We see her protecting her body. We see that her body is yearning for the height of the sun and, as if, we can see her face directed toward the sky. And we’re ready waiting to see it. We’re ready to wait until the nightfall, until we will see her. And we will be ready to tell her how unusual, how tremendous she is. From the shore to the world. From the world to life. And from life to Degas’ art.

Her body locks by her bodily movements. Her hands and legs closing it off. And because of it, because it has, as if, barred itself and has closed itself off – it is impossibly wanted, extremely needed. She should open it with the sky, the sun, tenderness, warmth, wind. She should. Shouldn’t she?


Edgar Degas (1834-1917)