Dancers Climbing the Stairs (c.1886 – c.1890) by Edgar Degas

Dancers Climbing the Stairs - Edgar Degas - c.1886 - c.1890

Artwork Information

TitleDancers Climbing the Stairs
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1886 - c.1890
Art MovementImpressionism

About Dancers Climbing the Stairs

The artwork titled “Dancers Climbing the Stairs,” created by Edgar Degas, dates back to the period between circa 1886 and 1890. This genre painting is executed in oil on canvas and is a notable example of the Impressionist movement, a style renowned for its exploration of light, color, and everyday moments.

In the artwork, Edgar Degas masterfully captures a casual scene featuring a group of dancers. The composition’s focus is on several ballerinas as they ascend a flight of stairs, presumably either heading to a rehearsal or performance. Degas employs a palette that projects a warm ambiance, with hues that suggest the soft, diffused lighting typical of indoor environments. The dancers are depicted with varying degrees of precision; while some figures are rendered with clear, detailed strokes, others appear almost ethereal, their forms blending softly into the background. This technique is characteristic of Impressionist art, wherein the exactness of form is often sacrificed for the overall impression and feeling conveyed by the scene. The artist’s use of loose brushwork to suggest movement and the swirling tutus of the dancers enhance the dynamic quality of the artwork, inviting viewers to ponder the fleeting moment that is captured. Degas’s interest in the everyday activities of the dancers, as opposed to the grandiose moments on stage, is evident in this intimate portrayal of their routine.

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