Ballerina and Lady with a Fan (1885) by Edgar Degas

Ballerina and Lady with a Fan - Edgar Degas - 1885

Artwork Information

TitleBallerina and Lady with a Fan
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions66 x 51 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, US

About Ballerina and Lady with a Fan

The artwork titled “Ballerina and Lady with a Fan,” created by Edgar Degas in 1885, is an exquisite example of Impressionism rendered in pastel on paper. Measuring 66 by 51 cm, this genre painting is currently housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Degas’ work is renowned for its dynamic composition and delicate use of color, embodying the essence of the Impressionist movement.

In the artwork, the viewer is presented with a captivating scene featuring a ballerina and a spectator. The ballerina, caught mid-movement, is adorned in a vibrant, fluttering dress that cascades from a warm yellow to a rich red at the hem, invoking a sense of liveliness and motion. Her attire is complemented by a soft tuft of tulle and a decorative element in her hair. The background dancers, wearing complementary tutus, add depth to the scene and suggest the context of a bustling performance.

In contrast, the figure of the lady with a fan in the foreground anchors the composition. Her presence, characterized by the rich, cool hues of her fan and clothing, introduces a sense of calm and poise. Her profile is captured with a reserved elegance, allowing the viewer to feel the juxtaposition between her stillness and the kinetic energy of the dancers.

The artwork’s Impressionist roots are evident in the application of the pastel medium, which provides a soft, textural quality that captures the fleeting effects of light and color. Degas’ deft hand results in a masterful blend of motion and stasis, bringing the scene to life with immediacy and sensitivity.

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