The Dance Examination (c. 1880) by Edgar Degas

The Dance Examination - Edgar Degas - c. 1880

Artwork Information

TitleThe Dance Examination
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec. 1880
MediumPastel and charcoal on paper
Dimensions24 15/16 x 18 15/16 in. (63.4 x 48.2 cm)
Current LocationDenver Art Museum

About The Dance Examination

Edgar Degas was a renowned artist in the 19th century known for his paintings of ballet dancers. The Dance Examination is a pastel drawing created in c. 1880. It portrays 24 ballerinas and their mothers waiting while a dancer performs an attitude for examination. Degas was keen on incorporating realism into his depiction of figures and facial expressions in his artwork. That is why he often painted dancers backstage or in moments of preparation.

Degas’s artwork showcases the making of art and the unique poses and expressions of the human form. He takes a different approach to the portrayal of dancers. Instead of depicting them in formal dance poses, Degas shows them at practice or in a resting position. Additionally, Degas created a vast range of works, including paintings, prints, drawings, and photography.

Although a realist who rejected the Impressionist label, Degas’s artwork exhibited experimental and vivid uses of color. Throughout his life, he underwent distinctive style changes in his artwork, partly caused by his loss of eyesight later in life.

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