Gustave Moreau (1868) by Edgar Degas

Gustave Moreau - Edgar Degas - 1868

Artwork Information

TitleGustave Moreau
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions40 x 27 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée National Gustave Moreau, Paris, France

About Gustave Moreau

The artwork in question is a representation of the artist Gustave Moreau, created by his contemporary Edgar Degas in 1868. This oil on canvas portrait is modest in size, measuring 40 x 27 centimeters, and it currently resides in the Musée National Gustave Moreau in Paris, France. Executed during the period known for the emerging Impressionism movement, this work is a revealing example of portraiture that, while linked to the period, conveys a more traditional and somber aesthetic that reflects the nuanced intersection of styles during this era of art history.

The portrait depicts a man, presumably Gustave Moreau, seated in a relaxed, though somewhat formal pose. The background of the artwork is minimal, darkened to focus attention on the figure. The subject is attired in the dark formal wear of the time, with a white shirt cuff prominent at his wrist, adding a striking contrast. His head is turned slightly to face the viewer, with a contemplative or serious expression on his face, and his hand is brought up close to his beard in a thoughtful or introspective gesture.

The artwork’s subdued color palette, primarily consisting of dark tones, creates a somber ambiance, complementing the introspective nature of the subject. The technique employed by Degas suggests an interest in the play of light and shadow, which fosters a sense of depth and realism without insisting on the finer details often found in the academic portraits of the period. This blend of technique and the choice of subject matter offer a glimpse into the sensibilities of both artist and sitter during a transformative time in art history.

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