'Dancer at Rest', like the majority of Degas' sculptures, depicts a female model in a pose which occurs in a number of his pastels and oil paintings. In these, she appears both as a dancer resting in the wings and as a bather in her bedroom. There is some uncertainty about Degas' ambitions for his sculptures. Only one was ever exhibited in his lifetime, and he maintained that they were 'documentary, preparatory motions', created to assist him with his work on paper and canvas. This seems to be supported by the fact that, as with 'Dancer at Rest', the models' faces are always ill-defined, in contrast to the detailed description of their physiques.