The Bellelli Family (1860 – 1862) by Edgar Degas

The Bellelli Family - Edgar Degas - 1860 - 1862

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Bellelli Family
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1860 - 1862
Dimensions200 x 250 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About The Bellelli Family

“The Bellelli Family” is a masterpiece by Edgar Degas, created between the years of 1860 and 1862. Employing the medium of oil on canvas, Degas contributed to the Realism movement with this profound work. Spanning a substantial 200 by 250 cm, the artwork is a portrait imbued with emotional depth and family dynamics. It is exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

The artwork presents a domestic interior wherein four figures are depicted with striking realism. The central female figure stands dignified, enveloped in a dark dress, her expression contemplative. She seems to anchor the composition, with two young girls, dressed in white pinafores with black detailing, poised nearby. The girl standing to the left appears to seek comfort or reassurance by placing her hand on the elder woman’s garment, while the seated girl directs her gaze away, suggesting a sense of distance or pensiveness.

To the right, a man is seated behind a desk, markedly separated from the group of three. He is turned away slightly from the viewer, engaged in reading papers or perhaps correspondence, an activity that further accentuates the psychological expanse between him and the female figures.

The domestic setting features ornate furnishings, heavy curtains, and detailed wall decor, creating a rich visual tapestry that exudes a certain austerity. The use of light and shadow, as well as the careful arrangement of the figures, contributes to an atmosphere of formality and emotional restraint that is characteristic of the era.

This portrait is more than a mere depiction of family likeness; it is a narrative that speaks volumes about the individuals’ characters and their interrelations within the space they inhabit.

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