Place de la Concorde (1875) by Edgar Degas

Place de la Concorde - Edgar Degas - 1875

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Artwork Information

TitlePlace de la Concorde
ArtistEdgar Degas
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions78.4 x 117.5 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Place de la Concorde

“Place de la Concorde” is an exemplary work of Impressionism by the renowned artist Edgar Degas, completed in 1875. Painted with oil on canvas, this artwork measures 78.4 by 117.5 cm and delves into the genre of portraiture. Currently, this significant piece of art history resides within the prestigious collection of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The artwork presents a scene set in the famous Parisian square, the Place de la Concorde. At a glance, the painting appears to capture a fleeting moment in the busy city life of Paris during the late 19th century. The composition is extended horizontally, emphasizing the breadth of the public space. Degas demonstrates his extraordinary ability to depict modern life by incorporating a diverse cast of figures, each absorbed in their own activities, a characteristic approach of the Impressionist movement.

Foregrounded are several figures walking across the canvas, notably a man in a top hat and overcoat leading two young girls dressed in pale coats, alongside a greyhound. The facial expressions and body language of the characters suggest movement and immediacy, as if they were caught in mid-stride. The brushwork is loose and dynamic, further conveying the sensation of movement and the transient light of the moment.

In the background, to the left of the composition, one can observe various elements of urban life including carriages and distant figures, all expressed with swift and confident brushstrokes that provide a sense of bustling activity without delving into exact details. The painting’s palette is relatively muted with an emphasis on earth tones and subtle variations of light, which harmonizes the entire scene and offers an authentic representation of the conditions under which the subjects exist.

By subtly blurring details and emphasizing the atmosphere and light of the scene, Degas exemplifies the core principles of Impressionism in “Place de la Concorde”. This artwork masterfully conveys the vivacity and elegance of Parisian society during the era, while also showcasing Degas’ signature attention to the human figure and the innovative compositional techniques that distinguish his work within the Impressionist canon.

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