Edgar Degas Paintings

The Crucifixion (After Mantegna)

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The stunning biblical painting created by Edgar Degas was inspired by the Italian artist Andrea Mantegna. The Italian painted created stunning artworks during the 15th century in which he showcases the Roman Catholic stories and religion at the time.

Edgar Degas felt greatly influenced by his work and was inspired to recreate The Crucifixion in a similar style. Since Edgar Degas did not consider himself an Impressionism artist and rather a realist, itÕs only common that the artist felt the need to dabble in Italian Renaissance artwork. The stunning painting immensely veers away from any of the artistÕs other work in a classic Impressionism style. While the artwork is still an Impressionism piece, it has classic realist elements throughout the work. One of the elements is the colour scheme used throughout the work. The colours are incredibly vibrant and captivating throughout the artwork. Rich warm shades dominate the artwork, while a cool blue seizes the sky through the piece.

Degas does not use exact detailing throughout the artwork. Rather, he focuses on portraying the characters in their overall form with minor details in their face. This group of people stand among one another taking in the Crucifixion of those above. The artist placed Jesus Christ in the centre of the frame to draw the viewer’s attention inwards. Degas is well known for using an off-centre viewpoint within his work rather than a frontal a centre one as showcased within the painting. Christ hangs on the large wooden cross that he himself carried to be nailed upon. His bare skin is illuminated in the sunlight that shines from the heaven upon the Lord’s only begotten son. A white cloak covers his waist in a small knot. Jesus’ head rests to the side as the viewer can imagine the immense pain, he is in. To his right and left, two other men are nailed on the cross alongside. The biblical stories do not state these men by name but do refer to them as thieves.

Near the bottom left of the canvas a group of women stand near one another. A woman dressed in a dark black cloak seems immensely distraught with the ordeal. It is believed that she is Mother Mary mourning the death of her son nailed on the cross. A group of women stand behind her comforting her. While it’s immensely difficult to make out exactly, near the bottom right of the painting a group of young boys seem to be drawing on the ground beneath the crosses. This is an interesting element to add to the work based on the situation of the scene. Nevertheless, Degas felt that this added the exact touch the piece needed, away from the overall scene.

Bright colours bleed into one another throughout the painting with no prominent figures sticking out. Since Degas was not as interested in portraying scenic imagery as other painters at the time, he still added a few touches of the landscape throughout the piece. This is evident through the stunning orange shades rocks the fill the background in a beautiful array. Near the horizon on the hill, the viewer can spot small figures standing near one another that seem to resemble a city. The rocky formation in the background of the piece significantly adds depth and dimension throughout the work. This is especially key since Degas decided to do a classic frontal perspective throughout the work which could’ve not had the 3D Touch it absolutely needed.

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