Mary Cassatt at the Louvre (c.1880) by Edgar Degas

Mary Cassatt at the Louvre - Edgar Degas - c.1880

Artwork Information

TitleMary Cassatt at the Louvre
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Mary Cassatt at the Louvre

The artwork entitled “Mary Cassatt at the Louvre” is a pastel genre painting by Edgar Degas, dating from around 1880. This work is representative of the Impressionism movement and is currently held in a private collection. The artwork captures a scene within the hallowed halls of the Louvre Museum, an esteemed location that has inspired artists for centuries.

In this depiction, two figures are portrayed amid the grandeur of the museum’s interior. The focal point is a woman standing, rendered in profile, observing works of art hung on the wall. She is elegantly dressed in what appears to be period fashion, suggesting the attire of the late 19th century, with a hat on her head. Her posture is one of quiet contemplation or study, indicative of a visitor thoroughly engaged in the cultural experience of the museum. She holds what could be a walking stick or perhaps an umbrella.

Beside her, another woman is seated, looking intently at a hand-held object, which may be a guidebook or a small piece of art. Her back is turned toward the viewer, offering a glimpse into her interaction with the object in her hands; her attention is internal, concentrated on the item before her. Both figures are set against the blurred background of richly colored paintings, implying the vast and varied collection housed within the Louvre. The brushstrokes and texture created by the pastel medium add to the impressionistic quality of the scene, capturing the light and atmosphere of the moment with a sense of immediacy and tactile presence.

Degas’ choice of pastel, a medium known for its vibrant color and soft texture, allows for an intimate and evocative portrayal of the two women, emphasizing the personal nature of their engagement with art. The genre painting explores the act of viewing and appreciating art itself, a theme that would be close to the heart of any artist, especially those of the Impressionist movement, who were deeply concerned with the visual experience and the dynamic interaction between the viewer and the subject.

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