Dancer and Tambourine (c.1897) by Edgar Degas

Dancer and Tambourine - Edgar Degas - c.1897

Artwork Information

TitleDancer and Tambourine
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Dancer and Tambourine

The artwork “Dancer and Tambourine” was crafted by the esteemed artist Edgar Degas around 1897. Degas, well-recognized for his contributions to the Impressionist movement, utilized oil paints on canvas to achieve the work’s expressive quality. This genre painting, which showcases a scene from everyday life, particularly that of performers, aligns with the aesthetic characteristics often associated with Impressionism. It was a revolutionary art movement known for its distinct approach to color and light, depicting scenes of modern life with a focus on spontaneous, loose brushwork. As of the last update on the artwork’s location, it resides within a private collection, out of the public’s direct reach.

In “Dancer and Tambourine,” the artwork vividly captures a pair of ballet dancers in mid-performance. The figure on the left, presumably holding a tambourine, appears mid-twirl or step, rendered in warm hues of pink and white that stand out against the darker background. The dancer’s movement is conveyed through the blurred lines and the dynamic positioning of her dress. The second figure, with a more subdued color palette of blues and darker hues, accompanies the first, adding depth to the composition and emphasizing the narrative of a joint performance. Degas’s signature can be discerned in the bottom right corner of the canvas, confirming the authenticity of the work. The painting is infused with a vibrant, almost mosaic-like application of color, a hallmark of Degas’s mature style, which emphasizes movement and the fleeting nature of the subject matter.

The atmosphere in the artwork reflects the typical Impressionist concern for the effects of light and the immediacy of the moment. The spontaneous technique employed by Degas suggests the transient nature of the dance, capturing an ephemeral scene of beauty and artistic expression. There’s a harmonious contrast achieved by the warm and cool tones which, together with the lively brushstrokes and strategic blur, convey the essence of Impressionism and create a sense of presence and liveliness. This method of depicting subjects would have been quite avant-garde for the time, deviating from the meticulous realism that previously dominated European art.

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