The Racecourse, Amateur Jockeys (1880) by Edgar Degas

The Racecourse, Amateur Jockeys - Edgar Degas - 1880

Artwork Information

TitleThe Racecourse, Amateur Jockeys
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions66 x 81 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About The Racecourse, Amateur Jockeys

The artwork entitled “The Racecourse, Amateur Jockeys” is an oil on canvas painting created by Edgar Degas in 1880. This piece is a fine example of the Impressionist movement to which Degas contributed significantly. The genre painting measures 66 by 81 centimeters and is currently held at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France. Its composition captures the lively atmosphere and movement characteristic of the racetrack.

The artwork depicts a scene at a racecourse, conveying the vibrant energy associated with horse racing. A group of jockeys atop their mounts is portrayed, each dressed in traditional racing silks that provide a burst of color against the more muted tones of the surroundings. The jockeys’ poses and the horses’ stances suggest movement and anticipation, with some figures facing away from the viewer, adding to the sense of activity within the scene.

The backdrop is sketched with loose, expressive brushwork typical of the Impressionist style, with the racecourse environment suggested through quick strokes and dabs of paint. Spectators are present in the lower right of the artwork, including an elegantly attired woman under a parasol and a man in a black top hat, indicating the social aspect of the event. The sky above shows a blend of clouds and hints of blue, while patches of green ground foreground the racetrack. The painting is overall dynamic, capturing a fleeting moment that reflects the modernity and leisure activities that were of interest to the Impressionists.

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