10 Dancing Artworks

Dance like nobody's watching? These 10 paintings agree

By Google Arts & Culture

The Wedding Dance (1566) by Pieter Bruegel the ElderDetroit Institute of Arts

The Wedding Dance, Pieter Bruegel the Elder

The big day. The rings have been exchanged, the cake has been cut, there's only a few things left to do… Pieter Bruegel the Elder's peasants may not have much in life, but they know how to have a great time!

De eierdans (1552) by Aertsen, PieterRijksmuseum

The Egg Dance, Pieter Aertsen

Some dances never go out of fashion, and then there's Pieter Aertsen's Egg Dance. While dancing to the tune of bagpipes, the young man has to roll an egg within a chalk circle and cover it with a wooden bowl, all without breaking it.

This ludicrous behaviour in a bawdy brothel was supposed to serve as a warning to young men looking for a good time… each to their own.

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (1876) by Auguste RenoirMusée d’Orsay, Paris

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, Auguste Renoir

If you're looking for a truly great time, why not drop by Le Moulin de la Galette in 19th-century Paris. This vivacious café-bar was the favoured hangout of artists, poets, and literatti of the era. Besides Renoir and his close friends, Vincent van Gogh was a patron.

The Dance Hall in Arles (1888) by Vincent van GoghMusée d’Orsay, Paris

The Dance Hall in Arles, Vincent van Gogh

Speaking of which, Vincent van Gogh painted his own bar scenes. The Dance Hall in Arles is of the masterpieces of his short-lived partnership with Paul Gauguin. The bustling activity of the Folies-Arlésiennes is broken by the portrait of his friend, Madame Roulin, on the right.

Dancers, Pink and Green (ca. 1890) by Edgar DegasThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dancers, Pink and Green, Edgar Degas

More than anything else, Edgar Degas is known for his scenes of ballerinas, on stage and in rehearsal. He was an excellent draughtsman, and captured the careful, if uncertain, movement of the dancers with an almost-photographic quality.

At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance (1890) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French, 1864 - 1901Philadelphia Museum of Art

At the Moulin Rouge, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec



For Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, dance was nothing refined. A regular of the Moulin Rouge, his dancers and their audience have only one thing on their mind. The drunken revelry he depicts might look refined, but this was the outrageous fin-de-siecle.

A Centennial of Independence (1892) by Henri RousseauThe J. Paul Getty Museum

A Centennial of Independence, Henri Rousseau

The self-taught painter Henri Rousseau pictures a fantastical celebration on the 1892 centennial of the French Revolution. Even if the flattened perspective and symmetrical layout make this revelry appear more like a medieval painting of the Ancien Régime.

Czardas dancers (1908: first state. Kirchner antedated this work later to 1905. - 1920: second state) by Ernst Ludwig KirchnerKunstmuseum

Czardas Dancers, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner thought that dancing put humans back in touch with basic, primal urges. His sickly-coloured Czardas Dancers reveals the modern, urban cabaret as a thin veneer over the wild, sensual, and taboo-breaking desires.

Carnaval d'Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin) (1924-1925) by Joan MiróAlbright-Knox Art Gallery

Carnival of the Harlequin, Joan Miro

Who ever said dance, or art, needs to follow the rules? Lose yourself in the fizzle of fireworks, the beat of drums, that rhythm, of Joan Miro's psychedelic Carnival of Harlequin. Join the party, just remember to stay hydrated and have fun!

Scenes of Music, Dance and Acrobatics (Mid 18th Century, Muhammad Shah Period) by UnknownNational Museum - New Delhi

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