Racehorses in a Landscape (1894) by Edgar Degas

Racehorses in a Landscape - Edgar Degas - 1894

Artwork Information

TitleRacehorses in a Landscape
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions48 x 64 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationThyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain

About Racehorses in a Landscape

The artwork entitled “Racehorses in a Landscape” was created by Edgar Degas in 1894. It is a pastel piece reflective of the Impressionism movement, measuring 48 x 64 cm. Classified as a genre painting, this artwork is housed in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain. It depicts a moment of calm within the dynamic setting of a racetrack.

In the artwork, a group of racehorses with their jockeys is presented. Horses of various hues and jockeys sporting differently colored racing silks appear at ease against the soft, undulating backdrop of the landscape. The naturalistic rendering of the foreground, where the horses and riders are situated, contrasts with the more abstract, loose brushwork depicting the distant hills, bathed in a play of light and shadows.

Degas captures a moment that seems both tranquil and anticipatory, as the horses and their riders prepare for action. The positioning of the figures conveys depth, with some horses and riders partially obscuring others, suggesting movement and life within the scene. The vigorous strokes and vibrant colors that characterize Degas’s pastel work are evident here, showcasing his expertise in translating the sensation of light and atmosphere onto the canvas.

The artwork is also notable for exemplifying Degas’s interest in modern life and his penchant for scenes of leisure activities, such as horse racing, which became a recurrent theme in his body of work during the late 19th century. The sense of immediacy and candidness, hallmarks of Impressionism, is palpable in this piece, inviting the viewer to glimpse a fleeting moment at the racetrack.

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