Study of Hands (c.1860) by Edgar Degas

Study of Hands - Edgar Degas - c.1860

Artwork Information

TitleStudy of Hands
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions38 x 46 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Study of Hands

The artwork “Study of Hands” is an eloquent sketch and study by Edgar Degas, dating back to circa 1860. Executed in oil on canvas, the piece reflects Degas’s attention to detail and early work that prefigures his affiliation with the Impressionist movement. The artwork’s modest dimensions are 38 by 46 centimeters. Currently, it resides in the esteemed Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

In the artwork, one observes the delicate rendering of two hands. The composition is centered around the tactile interaction of the fingers, with one hand gently resting on a surface while the other appears to be pressing or pinching something softly, perhaps a piece of fabric or an unidentifiable object. The brushwork is soft and diffuse, allowing the onlooker to appreciate the play of light and shadow, which is characteristic of the Impressionist technique. The background is muted, featuring what might be the edge of a desk or a tabletop, with wisps of color suggesting an indistinct form or presence that engages the hands. The artwork portrays an intimate study of human expression through gestures, capturing the elegance and fluidity of the hands in a moment of quiet interaction.

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