Edgar Degas Paintings

Dancer in her Dressing Room (1879)

Buy Edgar Degas Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Edgar Degas is a masterful impressionistic painter who derived from his era.

The Parisian painter is most often compared to artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet, who had the same feel to their work as Degas. The Dancer In Her Dressing Room holds an impressionist feel to the work as it illustrates a young ballerina preparing to take the stage. Degas takes a new perspective to capture the form of the woman. While he usually prefers a slightly side profile, Degas truly seizes the space by basing his perspective from the corner of the room. In this sense he can grab the ballerina’s face and attire. The woman is standing up right with her shoulders slightly slouched. She lifts her hands above her head to fix her dark chestnut hair. The woman’s hair is tied upwards in a bun supported by a yellow-green ribbon. The woman’s face is covered in sharp dark brown bangs that fall half way towards her eyes.

Her skin is immensely pale in comparison to the characters in his other works. While Parisians were commonly pale at the time, this woman’s skin is borderline white. However, the artist creates this illusion due to the white light source facing the woman. The woman’s face looks directly towards the light onto the mirror to fix her hair. The ballerina has a charming face with dark features and bright red lips. A black choker hugs the woman’s neck as an accessory. She is dressed in a classic romantic tutu costume. This type of dress was most commonly worn by ballerinas prior to taking the stage. It includes a corset that falls off of the shoulders exposing the bare chest.

A yellow belt hugs the woman’s waist making it appear thinner. Towards the bottom of her dress, a large white puffy skirt falls towards her knees. Degas was immensely masterful to be able to illustrate the stunning material of the fabric. The puffy skin gently falls in light layers of chiffon. The impeccable detailing allows for the viewer to imagine the material of the skirt. Even though the ballerina is off stage preparing, the artist gives her a classic pose. The woman’s feet are tilted in a classic position in which she would use on stage. Perhaps Degas added this quirky element to allude to the fact that she was a ballerina preparing to go on stage. Perhaps this form is to illustrate that she is indeed practicing prior to going on, as she wouldn’t practice it after getting off stage.

Degas adds many more characteristics throughout the art work to truly bring it all together. The floor is covered in a dark brown shade to allude to the idea of a wooden floor. Clothes fill the floor to show the messiness of the dressing room and the chaos that goes into preparing a show. Alongside, the woman’s vanity is filled with a number of items. The perimeter of the large mirror hugs the right side of the painting. A rich blue wall paper with yellow elements hugs the wall behind the woman. All of these small details add to the painting, rather than stealing attention away from the woman. Degas is incredibly gifted in being able to portray all of these elements throughout his work. The realist technique is evident as specific characteristics fill the ballerina. However, the background of the piece is based more so in an impressionism feel. It’s marvellous to see the brilliant artist be able to merge elements of realist and Impressionism together as one.

Share the Post:

Related Posts