Edgar Degas Paintings

A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers

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Edgar Degas wistfully and secretly catches the long gasps of A Woman Seated Besides a Vase of Flowers. The French artist’s conceived this beautiful portrait in 1865 through an oil on canvas painting.

The muse of the artwork is believed to have been the wife of the artist’s friend, Paul Valpincon. Degas commonly spent parts of his summer at their country home; where he would spend his time sketching and painting. These getaways fed many of the artist’s creative projects as he felt tremendous inspiration away from the city, coming together with nature. These warm seasons opted an amplitude of calmness within the serenity of the artist’s dreaded soul. The woman within the painting went on to become know as Madame Paul Valpincon. It is believed the artwork is based on a quick pencil on paper sketch Degas obtained of the woman while at their country home. Later on, as Degas came back to the city he turned his brief colourless sketch to life with an array of oil colours, a canvas, and his trusted paint brushes.

The artwork illustrates Madame Paul Valpincon seated near the side of the frame looking off into the distance. Her right arm is bended near the side of her face gently holding it and offering support. Degas was a brilliant artist showcasing his skills at he caught the swift lost gaze of the women looking off into the distance. The popularity of this painting stems from the question of what exactly the woman was pondering as she looked away. Was she aware the Degas was sketching her? Or did he truly capture a peaceful moment of the women looking away. Alongside, the beautiful brilliance of the artwork is not solemnly that Degas was able to capture the sweet moment of the woman lost in her own internal trance, but her exact mystical placement seated right next to the large vase of flowers. The artist is more seized by the large bouquet of lovely flowers than of the woman, placing her to the side of the piece. While there is immense debate of whether the artist cared more for the flowers or the woman within the painting, it is surely evident that the two elements flatter one another as they come together.

The vase of flowers is incredibly large, holding a strong variety. As the painting is based in the countryside, it is most common that they were picked out in the gardens and fields and placed together as one inside. The large green vase that holds all of the flowers together is very wide, with linear detailing through a darker shade. A variety of different colours fill the vase in red, yellow, purple, and pink. Yet the primary colour that acts as the foundation are a variety of small and large white flowers. The white intertwines with the various other colours adding harmony to the artwork. Different elements throughout the piece fill the painting. An antique tablecloth is placed beneath the vase upon the table. A small clear pitcher of water is placed near the left of the flowers on the table, right next to a crumpled yellow cloth. The background of the artwork is primarily showcased by the green vine wallpaper.

Madame Paul Valpincon is dressed in a luxurious dress in a golden satin colour. She attire is accentuated by a deep black scarf that wraps her neck, paired with a white veil upon her head. White pearl earrings elegantly dangle on her ear, as a brown curl falls from her head upon her forehead. The stunning artwork showcases the artist’s meticulous talent through narrating a story through body language and the placement of elements.

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