Thursday, November 4, 2010

Edgar Degas

The paintings and drawings of the French artist, Edgar Degas (1834-1917), contribute a unique style to the world of art. Considered by many to be an Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas actually did not want to be categorized as an Impressionist. But Edgar Degas could not have gotten to this level of art without the classical training he went through as a young man. The sources of his main inspirations came from pieces of work in the Louvre and from Italy; the frescoes and paintings that he saw on his trips to Italy captivated Degas, and his earlier works of art somewhat reflect the classicItalian styles.
However, as he progressed with his art, he turned towards a more modern approach to his drawings and sketches. Steering away from landscape paintings, Degas decided to focus on study drawings and paintings of more simplicity which was influenced by Japanese art. He started to draw ballerinas and his passion for studying ballerinas increased in the 1870's. He was able to create a link from the traditional techniques with modern styles. While his technique stayed classic, he explored a new subject through ballerinas. Ballerinas, who are incredibly flexible are able to move in different ways compared to non-ballerinas. Their movements and elegance were captured by Degas in his drawings. He studied them in various poses and excellently captured their poses. One of the many reasons why I personally chose Degas is because he chose to study ballerinas. In one subject, he could draw many different sketches: one for each pose a ballerina could hold. The poses that were portrayed were not always finale poses that depict the ballerina in the best light. What I like about his work is that it was very realistic and relaxed. Ballerinas are not always poised and perfect; and Degas showed this. He caught poses of them during practice and showed the true nature of ballerinas.
For example:
Dancers Dancing at the Barre (1877)
Mixed Media on Canvas

Although this is a painting and not a drawing, the composition of this piece is really appealing. I like how the ballerinas are not completely centered on the canvas. It shows off the more modern approach to paintings.

Untitled Sketch
Charcoal Pencil

Although this is only a sketch, it is still a really appealing piece to me. The sketch has short strokes which shows that it is a sketch, it still captures a majority of the detail with such simple strokes!

Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper (1873)
Graphite heightened with white chalk on faded pink paper

This is not a typical ballerina pose that you will see in performances. Instead it is what the title suggests. Also, this type of drawing is one of my favorite styles. This drawing looks like a simple sketch and the simplicity of this draws me in. It's a simple figure drawing with no details on the background; the ballerina is the only focus.

1 comment:

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