Before the Performance (1896 – 1898) by Edgar Degas

Before the Performance - Edgar Degas - 1896 - 1898

Artwork Information

TitleBefore the Performance
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1896 - 1898
Dimensions46.7 x 62.9 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationScottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, UK

About Before the Performance

Created by Edgar Degas between 1896 and 1898, “Before the Performance” is an artwork executed in oil on canvas, exemplifying the Impressionist era in which Degas painted. With dimensions measuring 46.7 by 62.9 centimeters, this genre painting is housed within the Scottish National Gallery located in Edinburgh, UK. It stands as a testament to Degas’s fascination with the world of dance and the intimate moments encapsulated therein.

The artwork features a scene typical of Degas’s oeuvre, depicting ballerinas at rest before a performance. The composition conveys a sense of candidness, almost voyeuristic, capturing the dancers in a private moment of preparation. Degas’s brushwork, loose and expressive, is characteristic of the Impressionist style, evoking movement and atmosphere rather than focusing on meticulous detail. In this painting, the color palette is rich and varied, with a dominantly warm spectrum highlighting the ballet skirts and employing contrasting shadows to add depth and form to the figures. The dancers are placed asymmetrically across the canvas, situated at varying angles and distances, giving the scene a sense of immediacy and dynamism. The artwork’s blurred details and the offsetting of stable balance through the figures’ positioning serve as a testament to Degas’s exploration of motion and perspective, hallmarks of his innovative artistic vision.

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