At the Ballet (c.1880 – c.1881) by Edgar Degas

At the Ballet - Edgar Degas - c.1880 - c.1881

Artwork Information

TitleAt the Ballet
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1880 - c.1881
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About At the Ballet

“At the Ballet” is an artwork by Edgar Degas, crafted circa 1880 – 1881. This piece is rendered in pastel, a medium Degas often employed in his exploration of color and light. It is part of the Impressionist art movement, known for its depiction of modern life and its focus on fleeting visual effects. This particular work falls into the genre painting category, emphasizing scenes from everyday life. The artwork currently belongs to a private collection.

The artwork presents a vibrant, behind-the-scenes moment at a ballet performance. In the foreground, a dancer is seated with her back to the viewer, as she appears to be getting ready. Alongside her, another dancer is captured in profile, her head adorned with flowers, perhaps engrossed in thought or watching the stage. On the right side of the composition, a dancer on stage strikes a pose, her light-colored tutu contrasted against the darker background of the audience. The brushstrokes are loose and expressive, adhering to the characteristic Impressionist style, which evokes sensations and atmospheric impressions rather than detailed realism.

Degas’s interest in the ballet is evident in this pastel, capturing both the luminosity and ethereal quality of the dancers’ attire and the dynamic energy of their movements. The artwork’s gestural style and the strategic use of color and light to articulate form and space are indicative of the Impressionist movement’s innovative approach to visual representation. The ballet theme is recurrent in Degas’s oeuvre, often revealing the artist’s fascination with the candid moments that occur offstage.

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