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  • Edgar Degas
    Jul 19, 1834 - Sep 27, 1917
  • Interior (The Rape) - Edgar Degas was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draughtsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half his works depict dancers.
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Interior (The Rape)
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  • Interior (The Rape)

  • Edgar Degas
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  • c. 1868-69
    32 x 45 in. (81.28 x 114.3 cm)
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, United States.

    Interior, also known as The Rape, is an oil painting by Edgar Degas, painted in 1868-1869. Described as "the most puzzling of Degas's major works", it depicts a tense confrontation by lamplight between a man and a partially undressed woman. The theatrical character of the scene has led art historians to seek a literary source for the composition, but none of the sources proposed has met with universal acceptance. Even the painting's title is uncertain; acquaintances of the artist referred to it either as Le Viol or Intérieur, and it was under the latter title that Degas exhibited it for the first time in 1905. The painting is housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Interior has been described as "the most theatrical of all Degas's compositions of modern life". Art historians have written of the work's "distinctly stage-managed character: items are arranged as if they are props, while the dramatic lighting increases the impression that a play is being enacted ... In addition to the mysterious subject-matter, this stage-like effect is presumably one of the chief reasons why scholars have repeatedly tried to identify a literary source for the painting." Various Naturalist novels have been put forward for consideration. Georges Rivière, a friend of the Impressionists, first suggested Louis Edmond Duranty's novel, the Struggle of Francoise Duquesnoy, as a source; the idea was accepted by R.H. Wilenski and others but found unsatisfactory by Duranty experts. Later, a scene within émile Zola's Madeleine Férat was identified as matching the elements of Degas's painting in several particulars - but while the narrow bed and the round table corresponded, the position of the figures relative to each other did not.

    Degas painted Interior at a time when his growing commitment to Realism had led him away from his earlier preoccupation with historical subjects such as Sémiramis Building Babylon (1860-62), Young Spartans Exercising. Degas referred to the work in 1897 as "mon tableau de genre" ("my genre painting"), which suggests that he considered the painting anomalous among his works.

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Other paintings by Edgar Degas:

In the Dance Studio
In the Dance Studio
In the Tuileries, Woman with a Parasol
In the Tuileries, Woman with a Parasol
Interior at Menil-Hubert
Interior at Menil-Hubert
Interior with Two People
Interior with Two People
Edgar DegasEdgar Degas As the son of a wealthy Parisian banking family, Edgar Hilaire Germain Degas originally planned to study law before opting to enter the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1855. His studies there strongly emphasized traditional drawing skills. Degas excelled and his extraordinary draftsmanship became a hallmark of his work. In 1856, Degas traveled extensively throughout Italy where he studied renaissance and classical masterpieces.

As a founding member of the Impressionists, Degas helped to organize the ground-breaking exhibition of 1874, exhibiting 10 of his own pieces in this inaugural show. While historically labeled an Impressionist, Degas preferred the term "Naturalist". He seldom painted en plein- air. Instead preferring to work from sketches and models. The artist once said: "My art has nothing spontaneous about it, it is all reflection." His studies frequently convey an element of psychological tension, offering the viewer intimate vignettes of life in late 19th century Paris. Fascinated with the movement of forms through space, Degas often sketched dancers from the wings of theaters, working in pastel and charcoal to capture his subjects with an unrivaled immediacy. Women dancing or merely engaged in the activities of daily life consistently his favored subject. Scholarship is currently divided as to whether Degas was a misogynist or an early feminist but the raging controversy has yet to dampen enthusiasm for the artist's work.

Degas liked photography so he painted similar to how a camera would capture a picture.