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Edgar Degas belongs to a group of powerful artists beginning to stray away from the classic principles of art. Rather than continuing the trend of realist art that focuses on detailing the exact figures, Degas progressed into and influenced Impressionism.
This style of art uses discontinuous brush strokes and breaks away from the traditional forms of art. This style of art Degas so dearly adored is known as the first great modern art movement in history. His contemporaries such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne, held a similar art style to Degas.
The artwork Rest illustrates this lively new style that veers away from realist paintings that dominated the early 19th century. As evident through the artwork, strokes of colour are rather combined by the human eye than the artist. Bright colours in high keys hit the canvas seizing the viewer’s attention fully. The artist’s work did not conform to the traditional way in which art was produced, and rather practiced a new form of art which would become known as impressionism.
The pastel artwork showcases a semi-nude woman resting against an ample amount of fabrics. A bright lavender blanket covers the bottom half of the woman. Yet, the outline of her right leg is shown through the fabric. One of her legs is folded, while the other falls towards the floor. The woman is laying on her stomach with her head falling to the left side. The viewer is able to catch a glimpse of her face partly. Her pointy nose and mouth are evident, whereas the rest of her face is covered in a hazel colour. As well, the artist depicts one of her breasts as her body is partly sideways. Her nude skin is coloured in a flesh toned pastel shade that illuminates her skin.
The woman resting is leaning against a white fabric that folds at numerous parts. Degas does not paint the best in a traditional sense as it curves upwards rather than horizontally. The interesting element to note within the artwork is the impressionistic figures near the left side of the canvas. Rolls of fabric curve into one another into the formation of rose petals. These unknown objects give off an impressionist feel to the work in which they are overlapping one another and creating a painting of their own. It almost gives an abstract feel as if it’s creating something of its own apart from what paintings usually depict. These fabrics are in bright deep hues of purple, blue, burgundy, and orange. The artist uses small brush strokes to showcase the texture of these fabrics. As well, he doesn’t mix the colours too much together, and instead lets the human eye mix it.
The complementary focal point of the artwork alongside the woman sleeping on her side is the deep blue wall paper. This rich colour holds glimpse of golden orange almost in a pattern. Degas uses a similar colour scheme near the bottom of the artwork in which he covers the floor in this golden orange shade. He then adds texture by sorting the rich blue-purple shade onto the floor.
Degas uses a multitude of different pattern, colours, and styles to bring this artwork to life and capture the viewer. All of the elements seamlessly blend into one another through the cool colour scheme used. Starting with the lavender skirt, the viewer moves their attention throughout the art piece onto the nude woman. Later, the attention moved onto the surrounding setting of the artwork that simply steals the spotlight through bright shades and patterns. Edgar Degas is a masterful artist who is brilliant at blending shades with an Impressionism feel to them.