Scene from the Steeplechase – the Fallen Jockey (1866) by Edgar Degas

Scene from the Steeplechase - the Fallen Jockey - Edgar Degas - 1866

Artwork Information

TitleScene from the Steeplechase - the Fallen Jockey
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Scene from the Steeplechase - the Fallen Jockey

The artwork “Scene from the Steeplechase – the Fallen Jockey” is an oil on canvas rendered by the renowned artist Edgar Degas in 1866. It is an exemplar of the Impressionist movement, classified as a genre painting depicting a moment from a horse race. Currently, the work is part of a private collection.

In the artwork, the viewer is presented with a vivid scene from a steeplechase—a type of horse race that involves obstacles such as fences and ditches. The central figure is a jockey, fallen to the ground, lying on his back with a dazed or perhaps unconscious expression, suggesting a recent tumble from his mount. To the left, a horse, presumably the one the jockey was riding, stands with a flustered posture, reins hanging loosely, looking down at the fallen rider.

In the background, other participants in the race are noticeable, rendered with less detail, depicted as they continue the race, oblivious to the jockey’s plight. The sky above them has subtle hints of blue and pink, suggesting either early morning or late afternoon. Degas effectively captures the motion and drama of the sport, as well as the inherent risks jockeys face during such high-intensity events.

The color palette is muddy and earth-toned, creating a stark contrast between the grounded jockey and the vitality of the racing horses, which adds a somber tone to the scene. The brushwork is loose and expressive, characteristics of the Impressionist style, emphasizing the movement and fleeting moment rather than the fine details of the subjects.

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