General Mellinet and Chief Rabbi Astruc (1871) by Edgar Degas

General Mellinet and Chief Rabbi Astruc - Edgar Degas - 1871

Artwork Information

TitleGeneral Mellinet and Chief Rabbi Astruc
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About General Mellinet and Chief Rabbi Astruc

The artwork titled “General Mellinet and Chief Rabbi Astruc” is a creation of the artist Edgar Degas, dating back to 1871. Employing oil on canvas as his medium, Degas contributes to the Impressionist movement, an era known for its innovative use of light and candid postures. This portrait is categorized within the genre of portraiture and is currently held in a private collection. The artwork captures the visages of two individuals presumably of some distinction, given their titles mentioned in the name.

Upon examination of the artwork, one can observe two male figures portrayed up close against a neutral backdrop. The figure on the left appears with a full beard and is adorned in what seems to be a richly-patterned garment with an ornate design, hinting at a garment of significance, possibly of a religious or cultural nature. The figure on the right, described as a general, is depicted in a more austere attire, with what may perhaps be a military dress, illustrating a dignified and aged visage with discerning eyes and a prominent mustache. The differing attire of the figures suggests contrasting roles or spheres of influence.

Degas’ technique here aligns with the Impressionist aim of capturing a moment with a sense of immediacy and is characterized by loose, expressive brushstrokes that convey the essence of the subjects rather than a detailed, exact likeness. The painting’s composition, with the subjects being placed closely side by side, draws an intimate connection between the two figures, yet their expressions and the orientation of their gaze, which do not converge, introduce a certain individuality and detachment in their relationship. Despite the limited color palette, Degas achieves a nuanced depiction of the features and personalities of the subjects.

The signature “Degas” can be discerned in the lower right corner of the artwork, confirming the authorship of this introspective double portrait.

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