The Dance Class (1874) by Edgar Degas

The Dance Class - Edgar Degas - 1873

Artwork Information

TitleThe Dance Class
ArtistEdgar Degas
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions25 5/8 x 31 7/8 in (65 x 81 cm)
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusee d'Orsay, Paris

About The Dance Class

“The Dance Class” is an artwork by Edgar Degas, created in 1873. This oil on canvas masterpiece exemplifies the Impressionist movement, capturing a moment of everyday life encapsulated in genre painting. Measuring 25 5/8 x 31 7/8 inches (65 x 81 cm), the artwork resides at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

The artwork depicts a dance class conducted in a studio. A dance master, standing at the left side near the piano, oversees young ballet dancers in various stages of practice and repose. Several dancers are highlighted mid-movement, capturing the grace and discipline of ballet. One girl seems to stand out, tying a ribbon around her ankle in the foreground, and her red garment draws the viewer’s eye as a vivid contrast to the otherwise muted color palette. Reflections, light, and shadow play across the room, cast through large windows, which are a hallmark of Degas’s style. The dancers’ attire, their relaxed postures while waiting their turns, and the casual observers in the background all contribute to the scene’s sense of candid spontaneity. Degas’s interest in movement and his skillful use of perspective is evident in this intimate portrayal of Parisian life.

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