Edgar Degas Paintings

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The gifted French artist is most prominently known for his paintings depicting ballerinas and the female body. The oil on canvas genre painting above illustrates 5 young women preparing to go on stage and put on a show. The artist adored painting with his imagination of what he believed occurred behind the scenes prior to a performance.

Edgar Degas is a masterful artist who was able to incorporate a multitude of different nuances into his artwork. The artist felt as if he was showing his viewers a glimpse of the secrets that go on behind the curtains. While many people have an idea of a performance, not many are aware of all of the work that goes into creating it. These behind the scene paintings allow for Degas to illustrate what occurs when no one is watching. Other paintings by the artist that hold a similar theme are Ballerinas Adjusting Their Dresses and The Actresses Dressing Room. Both of those paintings similarly give a hint as to what happens behind the scene in preparation for a show. Also check out Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous paintings such as Divan Japonais, Jane Avril and Ambassadeurs, Aristide Bruant.

As the women in the photo are simply standing around in casual stances, the viewer is able to see them preparing before going on stage. Near the centre and right of the canvas, 5 ballerinas stand dressed in lush pink romantic tutus. These dresses flare out in a bell shape downwards towards the women’s knees. This tutu is a traditional style worn by ballerinas during the 19th century, prior to the straight-flared ones that came into style soon after. These beautiful dresses in the portrait are coloured in the warm pink colour seizing the viewer’s attention. The shade of pink is immensely bright and rich.

It’s evident within the artwork that Degas used long brush strokes to showcase the fabric of dresses. With swift long strokes, the viewer is able to feel the fluffy texture of the tutus. The top of the dress exposes part of the back and bust. The ruffles continue to fall off the shoulders exposing the colour bones of the women. Similarly, light pink roses are placed at the front of the dress, and in the women’s hair. These dresses are incredibly feminine yet bold. Degas has brilliantly showcased their costumes beautiful as the focal point of the artwork. The brilliant artist was even able to showcase the exact sheer texture of the dresses, while in an Impressionism style.

Degas preciously detailed the skin of the girls accentuating the centre of their bodies. The artist is well known for illustrating the nude female body throughout his work, such as the painting The Toilette. Degas continues his love for showcasing the female body within the painting Dancers In Pink as he reveals their open backs and bust. The women are all huddled up near one another preparing to go on stage. Near the left of the painting in the back, the viewer is able to witness another group of girls in blue who are performing. Upon their completion, the dancers in pink will take the stage and steal the show away.

Degas makes sure to not steal any attention from the ballerinas. Therefore, he colours the background in muted shades of green and browns against the wall. This Impressionism characteristic uses small brush strokes to create the abstract feel to the work. Yet, Degas used much more detail to paint the brown floor of the artwork. This genre painting is a masterful piece of work by Degas as he guided the viewer’s attention to the ballerinas.

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