The Tub
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The Tub about 1889

On Display SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

This small bronze sculpture shows a young girl gently washing herself in a shallow basin. Degas started by modelling the figure in dark-red beeswax and used plaster to make the 'water'. He gave her a real sponge to hold and placed her in an actual lead basin. After Degas's death, this small mixed-media model was discovered in his studio and cast in bronze. The Scottish National Gallery's version is one of twenty-two casts that were made. In the later years of his career, Degas repeatedly explored the theme of the female bather. 'The Tub' demands to be viewed from above, an original idea for the time. It was never intended for exhibition, but was a personal exploration of a self-absorbed figure in a private act of mundane intimacy.

Glossary Open

Cast

The production of a sculpture by use of a mould to make a copy, usually in a more durable material, of the original work. The term is used to describe both the process and the resulting object.

Medium/ media

The material from which an artwork is made, e.g. oil paint, bronze, paper. 'Medium' is also used for the liquid element of paint in which a colouring agent is carried. 'Mixed media' is used when an artist combines several different materials in an artwork.

Cast, Medium/ media

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 2286
  • Medium Bronze
  • Size 22.20 x 45.70 x 42.00 cm
  • Credit Sir Alexander Maitland Bequest 1965