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Edgar Degas created Dance Class and Ballet Class in 1874. They are two near-identical paintings, with the former now stored at the Met Museum in New York and the latter in Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
These were Degas’ most complex paintings from his dance theme. There are more than twenty figures in both, leaving a dance conductor to take the main focus of each work
Jules Perrot is the conductor found here, and he was a famous ballet master around this time. Artist Degas created a scene within a rehearsal room in the former Paris Opera.
The only real difference between these two artworks are elements of the background, underlining how Edgar would play around with his scene to great detail.
This painting was lent to the 1876 Impressionist exhibition by Jean-Baptiste Faure, who commissioned the picture. Faure was a famous singer who is featured in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell poster which sits on the wall beside the mirror. This area of the scene was then re-jogged for Ballet Class.
Degas prepared for these commissioned artworks through careful study pieces. He produced countless drawings of dancers in his studio prior to taking on this work. Being classed as an impressionist did not sit well with Degas, but you will find all of the hallmarks here that are typical of that movement.
Degas was schooled in traditional art by the likes of Ingres and displays his own artistic understanding of the human body by capturing the ballerinas so beautifully and accurately. The Renaissance brought us extraordinary draughtsmanship from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Degas helped to continue this into the impressionist movement with his own paintings of ballet dancers.
Degas’s depiction of ballet and theatre scenes helped to feed his desire of remaining fiercely individual and would only compare himself to the impressionists at arm’s length. This is despite featuring in the majority of impressionist exhibitions during that period.
Degas ballerinas is a popular topic within impressionist, with French artist Edgar Degas having produced a host of impressive works covering the stylish and delicate ballerinas that were included in many of his paintings.
Edgar Degas has become seen by many as one of the most talented French artists since the Middle Ages and his work is still extremely popular today.
Edgar Degas was famous for painting several different topics within his career but it is certainly his series of ballerina dancers that is what he is best remembered for now.
The qualities with which he captured these beautiful scenes plus the sheer amount of output that he got through on this topic has ensured that no other artist is better known within this genre.
The feminine beauty of the ballerina dancer series have also attracted many within the art public who find women generally under respresented within art.
The large amount of Ballerina oil paintings and pencil drawings produced by Edgar Degas meant that the artist was able to truly experiment with all sorts of different poses, outfits and settings, using both single dancers and also group of dancers to achieve different effects.
Degas was a skilled artist who could take advantage of different art mediums which allowed him to try out ballerina scenes within pencil drawings and full scale deep oil paintings.
Edgar Degas achieved success with his ballerinas thanks to a hard working ethic that led to him creating large numbers of study pieces in order to make sure that he recreated each pose as accurately as possible, with the human anatomy being respected as one of the biggest challenges for any artist to do well, with few ever achieving true academic acceptance for their work in this competitive genre.
Degas is one who did achieve great respect for his contributions to portraiture and his use of colour helped to make the most of his anatomical skills.
Dancers in Blue features several ballerinas in a relatively blurred, impressionist style that leaves the viewer intrigued and wanting more.
The stylish blue outfits were selected specifically by Degas as he knew they would lift the painting through the vibrancy of colour which is always an integral element of any good impressionist painting. Several other works by Degas also make use of this shade of blue from ballerina dresses.
Edgar Degas is one in another long line of influential French painters, with France playing a very important role within European history, particularly since the end of the Italian Renaissance.
The best time for French art is probably the impressionist movement, with several artists like Degas coming towards the end of that period, taking in it’s important contributions and adding in their own ideas and techniques.
Four Ballerinas on the Stage is a bright painting which replaces the blues as seen previously in Dancers in Blue with a slightly more lilac tone for the dresses of the ballerinas.
Other ballerinas in the group have pink skirts instead and the tightly huddled group together complement each other perfectly for this composition, with the artist clearly having carefully selected the outfits to fit his painting style.
Edgar Degas differed in the way that he depicted ballerinas in his paintings, with sometimes choosing to go for a blurred, low detail style that is almost abstract, whilst at other times offering great detail which is perhaps nearer realism than impressionism.
Most consider Degas as an impressionist painter but it is fair to argue that he didn’t fit perfectly into any art genre thanks to his breadth of skill and confidence to try new techniques and ideas whenever he could.
Green Dancer again brings Degas’ colours to the fore, with a flurry of activity in this painting aided by the green array of ballerina dresses.
The colours within the foreground are contrasted to the dresses of the dancers behind them who are added purely as background supporting items that sit in browns that complement and brighten the greeny blues in front.
Most academics agreed that Degas was a true master of colour, above all else within his career.
The paintings of Edgar Degas have become amongst the most popular choices for reproductions of any French artist in recent years thanks to the way in which his key topics of ballerina dancers and horses have very strong followings, with Degas being seen as the key painter to have covered each.
French art’s own status during the period of Degas was exceptionally high within the art world and it is impressive that this artist managed to rise to the top with such competition.
Degas Ballet Dancers are well known subjects within the French impressionist art movement and best sum up the career of this highly talented artist whose career came about towards the late 19th and early 20th century.
Check out these Degas paintings at Degaspaintings.org. This website discusses the merits of Degas’ paintings that were devoted to ballet dancers and introduces some of the very best of them to you.
Edgar Degas was a truly gifted portrait painter who loved the excitement and natural beauty of the scenes found with ballerinas whose feminine charm was always going to popular both for the artists and the art public alike.
There is something very classical about the scenes produced by Degas and it is hard to see interest in his career ever waining because of the great integrity that surrounds the topics that he covered in his paintings.
Edgar Degas Ballet Dancers were carefully selected by the artist in order to capture exactly the right scene each time that eventually built into a comprehensive portfolio of work covering ballerina dancers in a whole assortment of arrangements with different dresses, in different poses and also covering different numbers of them together.
In most cases Degas covered group of ballet dancers but there are examples of where he would allow a sole dancer to take the full limelight.
Edgar Degas’ style has proved exceptionally popular with the art public over the past century and currently Degas ballet dancer paintings are particularly popular as reproductions for his fans who can be found right across the world.
In most cases Degas originals are ordered as framed giclee art prints, posters and stretched canvases though some also like to buy handmade oil painting reproductions where their budget allows.
Ballet Dancers in Blue is a classic work from Edgar Degas which features the typical charm which he managed to get into each of his paintings on this topic thanks to the well chosen ballerinas who he placed into each of his painting scenes, typically covering dancers in training schools or, as in this case, right in the middle of the action whilst on stage, or in preparation for.
Artist Edgar Degas has achieved great success through his attention to detail on individual dancers within his paintings and this beautifully feminine style of dancing instantly draws interest, even from those generally not so interested in art.
It is however wrong to believe that Degas’ success was only due to his choice of popular topics within art as he also had exceptional talent which did not go unnoticed by art academics of that period and since.
Ballet Dancer paintings have a certain classic look which fits very well with the traditional achievements of French art which has always boasted integrity and classic charm.
It was the combination of Degas’ own impressionist style, that used exceptional colour usage, with the timeless prestige of ballerina dancers which together summed up life in France at this time for the privileged few like no artist had achieved other than perhaps Toulouse-Lautrec.
It is interesting when you study the ballet dancer paintings of Edgar Degas that you can remember how he was classified by most as an impressionist artist whilst he himself much preferred to consider himself as a realist artist.
His ballerina dancer paintings contrasted considerably in style right across his career with both realism and impressionism well represented as he experimented with detail against emotion which accuately underlines the main difference between these two art movements.
Four Ballet Dancers on the Stage is another example of Degas’ exceptional illustrative skills which are the basis of all of his paintings. Degas often produced study pieces that just finished as highly skilled pencil sketches with only a few colours added.
Most master artists have developed oil paintings on a basis of their own illustrative pencil drawings which are fundamental to building any great painting.
We hope you enjoy this website devoted to the topic of Degas’ paintings of ballet dancers and we will add more and more information in future as the website grows, so feel free to check back later as the site develops.
The artist did produce huge numbers of paintings and sketches on this topic and we hope to add all available works in time within this site to make it truly comprehensive on this topic.