In April 1877, the Impressionists' third group exhibition opened in Paris. Impressed by his friend Paul Cézanne's painting on view there, Baigneurs au Repos , Edgar Degas made two partial copies of it in his sketchbook. As his notebook was rather large and unwieldy, Degas probably sketched the painting from memory when he returned home, rather than in front of the actual scene.
Degas focused on the standing bather from the foreground of the painting, producing a rather quick, cruel caricature of her naked body. Her head is a simple circle, with two curved lines for eyes, a half circle for her nose, and a swirl of lines representing her tousled hair. Partially erasing her arms to set them at a sharper angle, the artist concentrated particularly on the body's unusual bent position, shown from the front and above.