Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green)

Edgar Degas1877 - 1879

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
Madrid, Spain

Degas was fascinated by the world of ballet; hence, it figured prominently in many of his paintings. Here, the group of dancers is depicted in mid-performance, as viewed from an upper side box. Only one of the girls in green is shown full-length, captured as she executes a swift, complicated turn. The other figures are cropped, leaving the viewer to imagine the rest. In the background, a number of ballerinas dressed in orange stand against the landscape scenery, awaiting their turn. Degas' use of a cropped, off-centred pictorial space was influenced by photography and by Japanese prints. He felt that the unfinished, transitory nature of reality could only be conveyed using a fragmented technique. Here, the fleeting nature of the movements is captured with rapid pastel strokes, applied with immense skill.


  • Title: Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green)
  • Creator: Edgar Degas
  • Creator Death Place: Paris, France
  • Creator Birth Place: Paris, France
  • Date Created: 1877 - 1879
  • Location: Madrid, Spain
  • Style: 19th Century European Painting Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
  • Physical Dimensions: 64 x 36 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Work details on the museum's website
  • Medium: Pastel and gouache on paper

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