Degas was an impressionist, but he refered to himself as a "realist" or an "independent" artist. In his earlier years, he took trips to Italy and became srtongly influenced by the art there. He was also influenced by works at the Louvre. As an impressionist, Degas took a modern approach to his artwork. When he painted he preferred to work from his sketches and memory as he focused on the contouring, use of light and color of his paintings.