Nude Study of a Dancer (1902) by Edgar Degas

Nude Study of a Dancer - Edgar Degas - 1902

Artwork Information

TitleNude Study of a Dancer
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions94.8 x 51.5 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Nude Study of a Dancer

The artwork entitled “Nude Study of a Dancer,” created by Edgar Degas in 1902, is a pastel piece that exemplifies the Impressionist movement. The dimensions of this nude painting are 94.8 by 51.5 centimeters, and it is part of a private collection.

In the artwork, the subject is a dancer posed in a seated position, seemingly at rest, with one arm gracefully looped over her head while the other hand supports herself against her knee. The figure is rendered with the soft blending of colors characteristic of pastel work and boasts a range of warm tones that contribute to the overall intimacy and immediacy of the scene. The model’s body displays a naturalistic form with delicate contours and shading that emphasize her figure and the relaxed, informal nature of the pose.

The background is abstract and loosely defined, allowing the viewer’s attention to focus on the figure itself. The brushwork in the surroundings suggests the setting of a dancer’s lounge or a studio, with hints of perhaps a bench or chair she is seated on, and objects on the floor which could be interpreted as discarded ballet slippers, adding context to the dancer’s environment. Degas’ use of contrasting and bold line work against the softer pastel underscores the form and dynamism inherent in the resting figure. The composition is such that it captures a sense of the ephemeral—the transitory pause in the dancer’s routine, thus providing a glimpse into the life behind the performance.

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