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Edgar Degas holds a grand collection of pastel on paper pieces prior to creating his oil on canvas masterpieces such as Blue Dancers, Ballet Class, and The Bath.
The brilliant artist depicts a young woman in the photo above who is presumed to be a singer taking the stage. The performer is stated to be Marie Von Goethem. The singer often graced the stage when Degas was there, turning her into a focal character of his work. The young woman stands on stage in a stunning gown faced towards the audience. Based on her lack of bodily movement and open mouth, it is quite evident that she is singing. It is fairly uncommon for Degas to create art of a woman singing, as he preferred physical performances in which he could capture their movement. Yet rather, this woman is stands in a straight position with only her left arm bent.
The woman’s dress remains the focal point of the artwork as it’s coloured in a various number of rich shades. Near her chest, a blue band covers it as it sxposes the top of her bust and collar bones. The fabric falls down her shoulders gently hugging her arms. This blue ruffled fabric wonderfully accentuated the woman’s top chest as her skin is revealed. Under the blue ruffled top section, the dress transforms into a tight yellow corset. This fabric hugs her waist into a thin physic. Small accents cover the fabric in shades of blue and red in a pattern. This yellow corset fold into a V towards the bottom of the dress.
The woman’s dress falls towards the floor in a full skirt. A rich red and blue fabric covers the bottom of the skirt in rich shades. This diagonal pattern filled the woman’s skirt in a festive grace. Degas spends extra time showcasing the detailing on the skirt in a satin texture. Near the top of the skirt ruffles line the yellow core set. This similar fabric is seem near the straps of the woman’s dress. The singer accentuates her look by adding a baby blue ribbon tied as a bow around her neck. She also has small bangles around her wrists. These accessories do not overpower the look, and rather cover the excess bare skin. While it is difficult to tell, it seems as if the woman also has a blue ribbon near her head holding her hair together.
Her rich orange coloured hair is swept towards her back. A few small pieces of hair line her face. Degas showcases a side profile for her face, with a glimpse of her other eye. The viewer is able to see the woman hold her head up high as she sings towards the crowd. Her small eyes look outwards into the crowd while he lips open apart. Her white pale skin is illuminated by light shining in front of her, adding depth and definition onto her body. The woman seems to look much thinner than most of the other women Degas depicts within his work. This is evident within his paintings Woman At Her Toilette, Rest, and Woman Having Her Hair Combed.
Degas often preferred to showcase women with immense curves and shape within his work. He was fascinated with the female body and felt as these types of women were the ones who truly held femininity and grace. Whereas slimmer women did not have the same depth and form to depict. The background of the painting remains simple and blended into each other. Yellow, green, and burgundy hues bleed with one another near the bottom right of the piece. Whereas, deep blues and blacks cover the top of the background. Based on the texture of the background, it seems as if the artist never received the chance to fully finish the painting.