Edgar Degas Paintings

Dancers, Pink and Green

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The work belongs to an early collection formed by the artist, in which he created a number of abbozzo of nude figures, and pastel on paper drawings. Dancers, Pink and Green, belongs to this early collection of art in which Degas simply used pastels to duplicate the feel of oil on canvas.

The artwork dates back to 1894 by the French artist Edgar Degas. Degas held the gift that he was able to incorporate pastels and yet still manage to create significantly detailed artwork. While his work had endless detail, as evident in this particular painting, he still produced artwork in the Impressionism style. The artwork showcases two ballerinas onstage preparing to perform. The main ballerina stages in the middle of the artwork, as her French tutu is the centre of the canvas. In order to bring attention to the bottom of her dress, Degas lightens it in comparison to the rest of the artwork. The artist uses linear strokes to showcase the chiffon texture of the material. Starting at the ballerina’s waist, Degas strokes the pastel outwards to create the illusion of a full tutu.

The artist uses impeccable detail to paint the tutu as he created an ombré effect with the pink and green colours. Near the top he begins with a pastel peachy salmon pink with white strands. Near the bottom he colours the ends of the skirt in a mint green shade. In the middle of the two colours, he bleeds them into one another to create an ombré effect. Yet, the brilliant element of the skirt is the blue tones he places in between the pink and green to illuminate the colours mixing together. These small blue accents add life into the pastel coloured tutu.

Degas continues this detailing into the top part of the ballerina’s costume coloured in a salad green shade. His use of pastels gives the illusion of a satin fabric hugging the top part of the woman’s body. The artist reveals part of her back, alongside her bare pale arms. The woman to her right is also dressed in the exact same dress, yet merged into the background of the painting. Based on the elaborate setting in which the ballerinas are standing, it seems as if they are on stage performing. The artist enjoyed switching back and forth the setting of the artwork with the performers behind on stage, and then behind the scenes. Degas was captivated by the beauty of their dance, yet also with the unknown of what goes on once the curtain closes. His imagination was constantly producing these scenarios in which he would translate into his work.

The background of the painting is covered in a mosaic number of shades swirling into one another. There is no evident detailing throughout all of these colours and shapes, in order not to steal the attention from the ballerina and her tutu. This is evidently shown through the quality of her legs, and the floor. Degas does not bother to meticulously showcase the details of her legs as it’s not an important part of the artwork. The quick detailing almost seems as if Degas rushed through the bottom half of the painting. Whereas the rest of the ballerina is carefully depicted in a beautiful texture and tone. Similarly, the background of the painting is covered in is dark greens that are borderline grey, whereas the ballerina’s dress is covered in bright salad greens and mint hues. These specific elements throughout the artwork repossess the viewer’s attention back to the ballerina and her tutu.

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