The Song Rehearsal (1873) by Edgar Degas

The Song Rehearsal - Edgar Degas - 1873

Artwork Information

TitleThe Song Rehearsal
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationDumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC, US

About The Song Rehearsal

“The Song Rehearsal,” created by Edgar Degas in 1873, is an oil on canvas work that exemplifies the Impressionist movement. The genre painting is part of the collection at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, located in Washington, DC, United States. This artwork captures a candid moment during a song rehearsal, focusing on everyday life scenes, which is characteristic of genre paintings.

The artwork depicts a scene of musical preparation within an interior setting. The canvas is animated by the figures of two women and a man who appear to be involved in the rehearsal process. On the left side, one woman, gardenia adorning her hair and dressed in white, gestures expressively with her hand, as though conveying the emotion of the song or directing the performance. To her right, a seated woman, also dressed in a pale dress embellished with dots, appears to be singing, her eyes downcast as if focused on her music sheet or lost in the melody. Near the right edge of the painting, a man is seated at the piano, his profile visible as he looks attentively towards the singer, providing the instrumental accompaniment.

The room in which the group rehearses is minimally furnished and characterized by a warm, predominantly orange hue that suffuses the scene with a soft, ambient glow, a common trait in Impressionist art. The backdrop contains a set of closed double doors that anchor the composition and add depth to the domestic space. The perspective, lighting, and brushwork exhibit the distinctive style of Degas, capturing both the spontaneity of the moment and the Impressionists’ interest in the effects of light and color.

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