The Parade (Racehorses in Front of the Stands) (1866 – 1868) by Edgar Degas

The Parade (Racehorses in Front of the Stands) - Edgar Degas - 1866 - 1868

Artwork Information

TitleThe Parade (Racehorses in Front of the Stands)
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1866 - 1868
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About The Parade (Racehorses in Front of the Stands)

“The Parade (Racehorses in Front of the Stands)” is an evocative artwork by the artist Edgar Degas, created in the period between 1866 and 1868. This genre painting, crafted using oil on paper mounted on canvas, is a quintessential example of the Realism movement. The artwork is currently located at the prestigious Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France, where it continues to captivate viewers with its captivating depiction of a scene from the equestrian world.

The artwork presents a dynamic and informal snapshot of a day at the races. Swathed in warm, naturalistic hues, the scene captures racehorses and their jockeys parading in front of an eager crowd, waiting in anticipation. The composition skillfully directs the viewer’s gaze across the canvas, as the eye is taken along the line of horses towards the architecture in the background, suggesting perhaps a grandstand. The use of perspective and the arrangement of figures create a sense of depth and movement. The faces and postures of both the spectators and the riders are rendered with enough detail to convey the liveliness of the event without allowing any single figure to dominate the scene.

Degas’s handling of light and shadow plays a significant role in the painting, imbuing the scene with a palpable sense of time and atmosphere. The elongated shadows suggest the particular time of day, possibly the late afternoon, contributing to the narrative encapsulated within the artwork. In this piece, Degas’s realism does not merely depict the physicality of the horses and figures; it also captures the fleeting moments of social and sporting life in the 19th century.

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