At the Races (c.1874 – c.1877) by Edgar Degas

At the Races - Edgar Degas - c.1874 - c.1877

Artwork Information

TitleAt the Races
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1874 - c.1877
Art MovementImpressionism

About At the Races

The artwork “At the Races” is a creation by the distinguished artist Edgar Degas, conceptualized during the period approximately between 1874 and 1877. Degas, a profound contributor to the Impressionism movement, depicted scenes from modern life, as evidenced by this genre painting, which also encompasses elements of landscape. The milieu in which Degas operated was characterized by an inclination towards capturing the ephemeral and sensory effect of a moment, which is mirrored in the brushwork and composition used in “At the Races”.

The artwork features a vibrant scene from a horse race, a common leisure activity of the period. It showcases jockeys mounted on their horses, exquisitely dressed in their racing outfits, each with a distinctively colored cap that stands out against the earthy tones of the background. The riders are depicted in various stances: some are sitting alert in their saddles, while one appears in conversation with another individual, highlighting the social aspect of the event. In the foreground, a figure in a cart is partially visible, adding depth to the scene, and suggesting the viewer’s position as an onlooker amidst the unfolding activities.

The landscape in the background shows rolling hills and a hint of structures, possibly indicating the proximity of urban life. Meanwhile, the broad brushstrokes and the play of light and shadow imbue the painting with a sense of movement and immediacy characteristic of Impressionist work. The artwork captures a fleeting moment in time, revealing Degas’ mastery in depicting dynamic subjects and his fascination with the energy of modern life as it is observed, rather than as it is idealized.

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