Two Riders by a Lake (c.1861) by Edgar Degas

Two Riders by a Lake - Edgar Degas - c.1861

Artwork Information

TitleTwo Riders by a Lake
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationBibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Paris, France

About Two Riders by a Lake

The artwork, “Two Riders by a Lake,” created by Edgar Degas around 1861, exemplifies the genre of genre painting with the use of pen and ink as its mediums. As an early work that may not fully represent the Impressionist style Degas is renowned for, it can be seen as a prelude to his later works. This piece is part of the collection at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris, France.

The artwork presents a compelling scene of two riders on horseback, situated near a body of water that could be inferred as a lake, given the title. The horses and riders are depicted mostly in silhouette, providing an intriguing contrast with the atmospheric and light-filled background. The palette includes muted browns and greys, suggesting either an early morning or late evening setting with a sizable expanse of cloud-dotted sky occupying the majority of the composition. The riders are foregrounded, but the smooth brushstrokes and lack of intricate detail in their forms generate a sense of movement and temporality. The distant landscape across the water is rendered in a sketchy manner, allowing the viewer’s eye to focus predominantly on the riders and their immediate surroundings. The overall effect of the piece is one that accentuates mood and ambiance over intricate detail, aligning with the broader tendencies of the Impressionist movement, which Degas would later become a significant figure of.

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