Study for Semiramis Building Babylon (1861) by Edgar Degas

Study for Semiramis Building Babylon - Edgar Degas - 1861

Artwork Information

TitleStudy for Semiramis Building Babylon
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions26.7 x 34.8 cm
Art MovementImpressionism

About Study for Semiramis Building Babylon

The artwork titled “Study for Semiramis Building Babylon” was crafted by the notable artist Edgar Degas in 1861. The medium employed for this piece was pencil and stump, showcasing Degas’s skill in creating depth and texture through these tools. This work, measuring 26.7 by 34.8 centimeters, is typically classified within the genre of sketch and study. Although Degas is frequently associated with the Impressionism movement, this particular piece contributes to the broader body of his work rather than being confined to the characteristics of any single art movement.

In the artwork, the central focus is a meticulously detailed drawing of a horse in profile. The horse is rendered with careful attention to musculature and shading, giving it a sense of volume and three-dimensionality. While the artwork’s title alludes to the ancient Assyrian queen Semiramis building Babylon, the figure of the horse is dominant and indicates a level of skill in anatomical rendering. The background elements are sketched more lightly and lack the detail of the horse, implying that the figure might be part of a larger, possibly historical or allegorical scene. However, these elements are secondary to the horse itself, which is depicted with a level of precision that suggests Degas’s focus was on capturing the creature’s form and poise. The signature of Degas is visible at the bottom right, adding authenticity to the work.

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