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Before The Curtain Call remains as one of the forgotten masterpieces of the famous French artist, Edgar Degas.
The stunning cold toned piece showcases a depth of emotion as the deep colours swirl with one another through an impressionist style. The artist is well known for his paintings, sculptures, prints, & drawings; especially through his identification with the art of dance. More than half of Degas’ artwork focuses on ballet through the portrayal of young ballerinas. This fixated theme throughout the legendary artist’s work remains as one of the vocal points of Before The Curtain Call.
The impressionist style holding the artwork showcases a young woman seated as she prepares to take the stage. Her legs angled to the side, she sits allowing her green gown to flow to the side of her in layers of ruffles. While Degas created the pieces in an impressionist style, his meticulous attention to detail allows for the viewer to witness his style and the paintings specific characteristics. The artwork holds a similar feel to the artists’s contemporary Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The salad coloured dress of the woman is contoured with an azure shade of blue through the sides of the layers of ruffles along the dress. While the genre painting was produced through the medium of pastels, Degas is still able to depict every aspect in an array of detail. Linear strokes in his technique showcase the fall of the fabric of her dress, into smooth waves towards the floor. Her skin is painted in a pale white tone, illuminated by shades of blue that are used to contour her dress. It is evident that the artist is attempting to showcase the scene of the woman getting ready before she goes on stage. A white glove lays along her lap, while she uses one of her hands to put the other glove on. While the woman is not dressed in the classic unitard ballerinas are usually associated with, the character seems as if she is about to perform a dance.
Her hair is placed upwards in a bun, while a few locks of her rich brown hair flow upon her face. Through the unusual upward angle of the painting, the viewer is not able to see the exact characteristics of her face, and is only left with a slight side profile. Her pale skin extends through her pointy nose, and red cheeks. The artist did not usually base his work off of this top down angle, adding an emotion to the painting as if the viewer is obtaining a secret glimpse to the behind the scenes of a performance. Near the bottom right of the main character, another woman kneels in a black dress accompanying the woman. She stretches her arms towards her touching the ruffles of the dress in an attempt to look like she is fixing the dress. The artist does not focus on this woman as he depicts her attire in classic black, with dark hair.
The final beauty Edgar Degas showcases through this artwork is the patterns on the floor swirling around. Shades of orange, blue, green bleed into one another in an assortment of waves beneath the woman. The direction in which the pastel strokes of the artist is against the floor is in the opposite direction of the dress. This creates depth within the room as different patterns fill the page. The dark background of the wall behind the women sits in a deep grey, not stealing the attention from the other aspects of the painting. Edgar Degas continues to create an array of work that highlight this style as evident within Group of Dancers, Blue Dancers, and Four Dancers.