The Impressionists frequently featured nudes who could be prostitutes, but were painted in a traditional manner. This 'formula' allowed the artist to present the 'reality of modern life' under the guise of classical expression. Degas took this formula further. By the 1880s, he was exploring what was to become his most characteristic approach to the nude - images of women bathing or washing themselves, far removed from idealised poses or mythological settings. These paintings stripped women of their mystery, showing them as unidealised creatures engaged in mundane activities.