Three Ballet Dancers, One with Dark Crimson Waist (1899) by Edgar Degas

Three Ballet Dancers, One with Dark Crimson Waist - Edgar Degas - 1899

Artwork Information

TitleThree Ballet Dancers, One with Dark Crimson Waist
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationBarnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, US

About Three Ballet Dancers, One with Dark Crimson Waist

“Three Ballet Dancers, One with Dark Crimson Waist” is a pastel artwork by Edgar Degas dated to 1899. As an exemplar of Impressionism, this genre painting encapsulates the vivid movement and light that typifies the movement. Degas’s work is currently in the collection of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA, US.

The artwork depicts the interplay of light and form through the graceful figures of three ballet dancers. The composition is centered around the dancer with a prominently featured dark crimson waist, which provides a vivid contrast to the otherwise muted tones of the composition. The dancers’ limbs intersect and overlap in a harmonious ensemble of motion and rest, while Degas’s characteristic use of pastel contributes to the soft texture and dynamic lines that give the impression of fleeting movement. SolidColorBrushes of green and earth tones in the background complement the dancers and suggest the presence of a backstage environment, evoking the intimate behind-the-scenes world of ballet that Degas frequently explored in his oeuvre. The sense of spontaneity in the dancers’ postures and the sketch-like quality of the strokes mirror the transitory moments of life and art that are central to Impressionist philosophy.

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