Gentlemen Jockeys before the Start (1862) by Edgar Degas

Gentlemen Jockeys before the Start - Edgar Degas - 1862

Artwork Information

TitleGentlemen Jockeys before the Start
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions48.5 x 61.5 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Gentlemen Jockeys before the Start

The artwork entitled “Gentlemen Jockeys before the Start” is an oil on canvas painting created by artist Edgar Degas in 1862. This work is an example of genre painting within the Impressionist movement, measuring 48.5 x 61.5 cm. The painting is part of the collection at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

In the artwork, a lively scene at a racetrack is depicted with great energy and motion, characterizing the moments before a horse race commences. The composition focuses on a group of jockeys atop their mounts, clothed in vibrant racing silks. The jockeys appear in various states of readiness, with some looking focused and others engaged in casual interaction, perhaps discussing strategies or sharing camaraderie before the competition. The horses are portrayed with a sense of realism, showcasing Degas’s attention to anatomical detail and movement.

The background of the artwork presents a crowd of spectators gathered to watch the race, creating a bustling atmosphere. The setting is outdoors, and the expanse of the sky above suggests the scale of the event and the anticipation filling the air. Various details, such as the distant landscape and industrial structures, hint at the transformation of rural environments during the industrial age. This work embodies the essence of the Impressionist movement, capturing the fleeting moments of everyday life with a focus on light, color, and the impression of the moment rather than a detailed narrative.

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