Edgar Degas Paintings

The Dance Class (1873)

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The beautiful work of Edgar Degas has granted the artist the titled as one of the most impactful figure of impressionism.

The stunning piece shows off the artistÕs meticulous attention to detail while showcasing a stunning environment. The piece immensely resembles his other work The Rehearsal. It seems as if both pieces were based at the same time on the similar characters shown throughout. Endless ballerinas fill the room as they practice for their grand recital. The viewer is not focused on a particular ballerina as many others fill the room. Yet, a particular individual who catches the viewer’s attention is the ballerina seated dressed in red. As the painting is indeed a rehearsal, it is quite usual for some of the women to be dressed in other attire. The woman in red wears a sweater upon her costume. This woman looks up onto another ballerina as her face is shaded. As the painting does not have a light source since the prominent scene is far from the window, the artist is unable to give too many details throughout his work. The woman to whom the red ballerina is speaking to is fixing her costume.

All of the ballerina’s within the painting are dressed in stunning white chiffon costumes. Their romantic tutus flare out towards their knees in a soft light material. It is evident through the artist’s endless paintings of ballerinas that he has mastered the art of illustrating the soft fabric upon which the dresses are based on. Alongside, each ballerina has a stunning silk bow that covers their backs in shades of salmon and yellow. The viewer’s gaze quickly falls upon a ballerina bent towards her feet to fix her shoe. She is the only ballerina in the painting to have a salmon bow behind her dress. The grand room continues on endlessly. Towards the left of the canvas, the classic spiral staircase is filled with the feet of two ballerinas and their costumes. Behind the staircase, the viewer is able to get a glimpse of a few more figures dancing.

Near the centre of the frame, a group of half a dozen ballerinas practise with their arms in the air. It is difficult to spot their instructor in the piece as they’re not there. In the back right of the piece, another group of girls dressed in the same white chiffon dresses hold onto the bar as they work on their pliŽ. It’s evident that the window is on the other side of the room as the walls and ballerinas are greatly illuminated. The walls glow in a bright orange golden shade. A few large columns fill the room even more so. While the piece is immensely dark, it is due to the fact that Degas did not use much light sources throughout the room. It is most likely that rehearsing studio was indeed as dark as portrayed in the piece.

The final details that truly bring the painting together is the hard wood floor. The artist uses a classic impressionistic technique of soft brush strokes to depict the floor. The viewer is able to tell that its hard wood based on the detailing throughout. However, Degas makes sure to merge the floor near the back of the room to add greater depth. Degas stunningly displayed this authentic moment of ballerinas preparing for a recital. It is unknown whether Degas was indeed there and was able to catch a glimpse of what goes on, or if the scene derived from his imagination.

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