Dancer with a Fan (c.1880) by Edgar Degas

Dancer with a Fan - Edgar Degas - c.1880

Artwork Information

TitleDancer with a Fan
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism

About Dancer with a Fan

“Dancer with a Fan” is a pastel artwork created by Edgar Degas around the year 1880. The artwork is part of the Impressionism movement and is classified under the genre painting category. Degas, renowned for his depictions of dancers, showcases his masterful use of pastel to convey the grace and dynamism inherent within the world of ballet.

The artwork depicts a solitary dancer, her body slightly turned away, with her gaze directed off-canvas, possibly at a distant focal point. She holds a fan in her right hand, which is raised to her chest, accentuating her leftward gaze, providing a sense of movement and poise. Her pose suggests a moment of rest or contemplation amidst a rehearsal or performance. The dancer’s attire, a tutu, is rendered with a soft, sketch-like quality that captures the delicate texture of the fabric. Degas’ use of light and shadow, along with the naturalistic rendering of the dancer’s form, imbue the figure with a sense of solidity and mass.

The sense of immediacy and the fleeting nature of the scene are hallmarks of the Impressionist movement, aiming to capture a slice of life with an emphasis on the effects of light and color. Degas’ choice of medium, pastel, allows for vibrant hues and subtle shading, which are evident in the artwork’s nuanced application.

Overall, “Dancer with a Fan” exemplifies Degas’ fascination with the ballet and his skill in pastel technique, encapsulating both the physicality and the ethereal beauty of the dancer’s world.

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