Horses and Jockeys (c.1886 – c.1890) by Edgar Degas

Horses and Jockeys - Edgar Degas - c.1886 - c.1890

Artwork Information

TitleHorses and Jockeys
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1886 - c.1890
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Horses and Jockeys

The artwork entitled “Horses and Jockeys” by Edgar Degas dates from approximately 1886 to 1890. This genre painting is executed in oil on panel and it is a notable example of the Impressionist movement. Currently, the artwork resides in a private collection. Degas, renowned for his vivid portrayal of movement and skilled brushwork, often depicted scenes of modern life, including the dynamic world of horse racing that fascinated him and became a recurrent theme in his oeuvre.

In “Horses and Jockeys,” the artwork captures a moment of casual dynamism and tension intrinsic to equestrian activities. The composition shows two jockeys on horseback, conveyed with rapid, loose brushstrokes that epitomize the Impressionist style. The riders are rendered with minimal detail yet are suffused with life and movement. The background, an atmospheric landscape with a setting sun casting a warm glow across the horizon, is sketched with vigor, its seeming spontaneity belying the careful composition Degas was known for.

Degas’ use of color in this work is muted but expressive, with the sunset providing a striking counterpoint to the earthy tones of the field and the darker silhouettes of the horses and riders. The sense of movement is further enhanced by the slightly blurred outlines and the strategic placement of the figures within the frame, offering a snapshot that feels both fleeting and timeless. Despite the economy of detail, the posture and positioning of the jockeys suggest the anticipation before a race, capturing a narrative moment that is characteristic of genre painting.

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