Six Friends of the Artist (1885) by Edgar Degas

Six Friends of the Artist - Edgar Degas - 1885

Artwork Information

TitleSix Friends of the Artist
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationRhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD Museum), Providence, RI, US

About Six Friends of the Artist

The artwork titled “Six Friends of the Artist” was created by Edgar Degas in 1885, employing pastel as the medium. This piece is representative of the Impressionism movement and is categorized as a portrait. The artwork presently resides at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD Museum) located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States.

The artwork portrays six figures, presumably male, arranged in a diagonal compositional line that recedes into the background, giving a sense of depth and continuity. These figures appear to be in profile or three-quarter view, suggesting that they are unaware of, or unconcerned with, the viewer’s gaze. Each figure is distinctly individualized, with varied attire, postures, and facial features, which could indicate a personal relationship with the artist, giving credence to the title. Degas’s use of pastel allows for both soft blending and bold strokes, creating a textural contrast that brings life and immediacy to the scene.

The background and surrounding details are executed with a minimalist approach, which places the emphasis on the figures themselves. The color palette is relatively subdued, with the use of earth tones and cooler hues, which is typical of Degas’s work from this period. The loose and expressive nature of the pastel strokes contributes to the sense of spontaneity and impressionistic quality typical of this art movement, suggesting the ephemeral moment of a casual gathering or a fleeting encounter among friends.

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