We know that, before becoming a sculptor, Rodin's artistic vocation was expressed through an interest in drawing. On the one hand, he considered it to be the medium in which to understand and to make manifest diverse human issues. On the other hand, it was the best way to formally study these problems, which he would then work out in his sculptures.
Le Modele nu (The Nude Model) and Nu féminin (Feminine Nude) are based on observation of a model, who appears to move about freely in the studio, but we believe to have been posed by the artist. In the first case, she holds a cloth that partially covers the left side of her body, it settles describing a sinuous line that ends in the area of hair on her head. Carried out in watercolor over graphite line, it is interesting to point out the play that areas of wash have in this drawing. The artist works with the figure using flesh tones to achieve effects of light and shadow through diverse transitions. He then highlights the figure by surrounding it with areas of violet, creating shadows in different sectors or emphasizing one in particular, as is the case with her hair.
In the case of Nu féminin, the depiction is much less condensed and the application of the watercolor is done with great subtlety. He defines the figure with the graphite line and then applies the watercolor. In the body, the forms are accentuated by way of transparencies that are the result of applying a base color followed by a wash with another color. More than a wash per se, it is a skillfully handled stain, worked into on the damp surface of the previous layer.