Edgar Degas Paintings

Edmondo and Therese Morbilli

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Edgar Degas incorporated various techniques and elements throughout his work to truly intertwine everything together as one.

The painting of Edmondo and Therese Morbilli belongs to a collection of portraits Degas created during the 1860’s and 1870’s. The artist felt that his work should take on different forms and created 14 portraits during the two decades. Some of these pieces include Self Portrait Saluting, Head Of A Young Woman, Portrait Of James Tissot. These stunning pieces brought new life to the artist’s work, veering away from the beauty of the female body his work often showcased. These portraits instead told a different story to the viewer, one that will always remain unanswered as portraits are difficult to interpret. This painting highly resembles another of the couple, titled Edmond And Therese Morbilli. It is unknown whether Degas was commissioned by the couple to create this portrait, or perhaps whether he was immensely intrigued by them. This is a critical question to analyze as this is the second portrait of the stunning couple.

The portrait illustrates the two posing for Degas to depict them. Edmondo sits on the edge of a large burgundy arm chair near the right of the painting. His body is turned to the side, away from the viewer. His left leg is crossed as it leans against the arm of the chair. The viewer is only able to get a side profile of his body. Yet, his striking stare looks into the viewer as he shifts his neck completely to the right starring directly at the viewer. His neck is not turned all the way, giving the viewer a slight side profile of the man’s face. The viewer is able to distinguish his dark beard from the rest of his attire. He is dressed in a deep black coat that covers his body and falls towards the floor. He has light brown pants on to go with his attire. A small glimpse of his white collar is shown near his neck

The man’s eyes are portrayed wide open, rather than droopy as they were in the other painting. His eyes directly catch the viewer’s gaze as he is well aware someone is looking at him. To his left, his wife is seated on the other side of the love seat as well looking at the viewer. She is dressed in a beautiful golden dress, that falls towards the floor. Degas uses his masterful technique to showcase the texture of the fabric. Endless golden layers of chiffon intertwine with one another, creating a metallic sheen to the fabric. Small glimpse or orange, blue, and yellow shine trough the warm colours. There are endless folds throughout the woman’s skirt, as the fabric lays upon itself. Similarly to her husband, Therese’s white collar is shown near her neck, alongside near her wrists.

The captivating element that is critical to note is the long red fabric that covers her body. It seems to be a red feather wrap that hangs below her shoulders. This adds greater dimension to her attire, with a luxurious feel. The bright blood red fabric is incredibly eye catching in comparison to the rest of the piece. The burgundy love seat that the couple are seated open is covered in a velvet red fabric. It seems as if the painting is unfinished, based on the figure standing in the doorway. It seems to be an outline of a woman, that is not yet complete. Behind the cold, a warm green wallpaper fills the room. Vines intertwine into one another in a green colour with hues of blue and browns. A stunning gold colour covers the left of the piece, catching a reflected light. All of these different elements throughout the piece come together as one to draw in the viewerÕs attention. The captivating colours effortlessly come together as a collective.

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