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  • Edgar Degas
    Jul 19, 1834 - Sep 27, 1917
  • The Rehearsal on Stage - 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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The Rehearsal on Stage
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  • The Rehearsal on Stage

  • Edgar Degas
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  • circa 1874
    Pastel over brush-and-ink drawing on wove paper
    Metropolitan Museum of Art, United States.

    Ballet Rehearsal on Stage, painted in 1874, was not a typical impressionist painting. The painting is an oil on canvas. The lack of color is evidence of the painting's anit-impressionism. The most obvious difference between this painting of ballet and another impressionist's ballet scene is that the dancers are rehearsing. Keith Roberts said, "It retains little quiet charm, like most ballet scenes did".

    Most ballet scenes show dancers performing for an audience, but Degas shows the dancers in a different way. The dancers are not only dancing but they are stretching and yawning. Though all of the dancers shown are dressed uniformly, their faces are not uniform. Every dancer has a different facial expression, but all of the expressions read as one mood: fatigue. One dancer obviously yawning, with both hands stretched back behind head, head raised, and mouth wide open. The dancers do not show the beauty seen on the stage. Author, Francesco Salvi, has his own view of Degas' depiction: "In The Rehearsal on Stage he captures the repetitious nature of a job like any other: the ballerinas' movements, rehearsed and re-rehearsed, an old teacher, two bored onlookers".

    In the bottom right corner of the painting, the first empty row of the theater is shown, once again reiterating that it is a rehearsal shown. The colors are dull, reinforcing the mood. Ballet Rehearsal on Stage is a prime example of Degas' work. This painting clearly shows the Parisian culture because ballet was a major aspect at that time.

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Other paintings by Edgar Degas:

The Rehearsal 1877
The Rehearsal 1877
The Rehearsal of the Ballet on Stage
The Rehearsal of the Ballet on Stage
The Return of the Herd
The Return of the Herd
The Song of the Dog
The Song of the Dog
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.