E. Degas: Danza (detalle), 1872.
E. Degas, Dance, (detail), 1872.

  • A modern classic:
         Degas is an impressionist interested in form rather than in color. Though he participated in seven of the eight impressionist exhibitions, his art left outside this movement, since he represents the spirit of classicism. He was found in Renaissance, specially in Rafael's art. Then he learnt from French School of Arts and from Ingres.
         Modernity in Degas consists of choosing contemporary instead of academic subjects, creating a similarity with Manet. Degas is clever for drawing. He tried to get the movement with fidelity: that is why his subjects were dancing girls or horse races. He worked the same matters as Lautrec, but never from an expressionist point of view like his, but from a classic one. Degas is a good observer of women. He tries to catch their most unusual positions, attitudes and instants. Many of his compositions show asymmetric figures and broken edges. That is caused by influence of photography and engravures from japanese art. The vibrant lights of ambiences by Monet are substituted in Degas' works by a pale shade of footlights. We can say that Degas incarnates the "Inner Impressionism".
         When Degas' sight began to fail, he tried new techniques as sculpture and pastel. Degas could not harmonize himself with Impressionism since he was interested in drawing and not in color. Conservative streams were not interesting to him, because he always tried to cultivate the most contemporary matters. Success came after his death.
  • Representative works by Degas:
    E. Degas: Clase de danza, c.1873-1875.
    E. Degas, Class of dance, c.1873-1875, oil on canvas, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Degas: La bebedora de ajenjo, 1876. E. Degas, Woman Drinking Alcohol, 1876, oil on canvas, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Degas: Bailarina en la escena, 1878. E. Degas, Woman Dancing on Stage, 1878, pastel, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Degas: Planchadoras, 1884. E. Degas, Woman Ironing, 1884, oil on canvas, Musée d´Orsay, Paris.
    E. Degas: Carreras, 1885-1888. E. Degas, Races, 1885-1888, pastel, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    E. Degas: Mujer peinándose, c.1887-1890. E. Degas, Woman Combing Her Hair, c.1887-1890, Museé du Louvre, Paris.

    Written by:
    Beatriz Aragonés Escobar.
    Licenciada en Historia del Arte

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