Edgar Degas

In the late 1880's, Edgar Degas developed a passion for photography. He captured dancers and nudes, which were used for reference in most of his drawings and paintings. Degas was identified as a Impressionist artist, although he rejected this term and referred himself as a Realist. An Impressionist paints realities of the world around them using bright and dazzling colors, concentrating on the effects of light, infusing their scenes with immediacy. Over half of his art work depicts dancers, displaying his mastery of depiction of movement. In this exhibition you will view Degas' most famous artworks, dancers of modern life.

In 1870's Edgar Degas grew very fascinated with ballet dancers. He would pay visits to the classes where the little girls would train. In this image, he depicts seven young dancers, who fill the page with their plies, lunges, and kicks. Degas focused mainly on their bodies not even bothering to sketch their heads. He fell in love with the modern dancers and their graceful twists, movement, and gestures of the girls. He has captured reproducing modern life in a beautiful way.
In this painting, the focus of the stage is shown by the bordering from the footlights. The ballerinas dancing have a very light shade to them making them a viewpoint. Degas used shaded tones, inventing a neutral, milky color to the image. The stage lighting brings out the whiteness of the ballerina's tutus which give rhythm to the composition. Out of all Degas' ballet scenes, this painting differs greatly from the "orgy of colours" that are splashed around in his later works.
From the 1870's until death, Degas' favorite subjects were ballerinas at work, in rehearsal or at rest. He enjoyed this more than performances and moments of limelight, training and rehearsals interested him. In this piece of work, the class is coming to an end. Here he observes the more natural, ordinary gestures, where the body slumps after exhaustion.
Degas often included figures pausing from tedious performances to stretch, yawn, rest, etc. This was to capture glimpses pf everyday life. In this particular sketch, Degas over-sized the dancer, quickly trying to sketch a split-second subject. The marks and smudges that make the background are not only to emphasize the dancer, but to show his artistic process evolving her into a modern character.
"Four Dancers" was one of the largest and enthusiastic of Degas' late works. He suppressed very descriptive detail in this painting, while using dark lines to shape the heads and arms, underling his most formal concerns. These figures appear to have a color scheme of complementary red-orange and green hues applied to them. The four dancers pose depict a progression of complex movement.
Adding pastel to his work, "Dancer in Her Dressing Room" displays Degas attraction to a non linear perspective and decorative lines. One of Degas' goal was to combine the best of Impressionism. He would seek its vivid lighting and atmosphere, instantaneous movement, and vibrant tones which are depicted in this painting.
"Dancers at the Barre" exemplifies Degas' ability to express the application of color to overtake subject and composition in a painting. This position of the ballerina propping her leg up on the practice bar appeared in the 1870's and is still a traditional method of practice in the modern days.
The depiction of the dancers are viewed from an upper side box during their mid-performance. Only one girl is captured in full length as she makes a complicated turn. The dancers in orange stand in the background awaiting their turn. Degas left some dancers cropped out for the viewer to imagine the rest of the scenery.
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