The Ballet Class
6 Interesting Facts About Edgar Degas
- The dancers shown in the painting were coming to an end of their regular rehearsal, exhausted and sore, and Degas painted the small details of motion (a scratch on the back, a head lifted up in boredom) to express the emotion of the scene.
- Edgar Degas never took on the title of Impressionist during his life time, but his style of capturing the scene, what he sees in front of him, takes on the label. Degas once said “You only reproduce what struck you, to say the necessary,” while talking about painting from memory.
- Degas had a passion for painting scenes of dancers, particularly during rehearsal. He would spend much time at the opera, capturing movement both onstage and behind the scenes.
- The brushstrokes Degas uses in The Ballet Class are choppy and short, only looking blended from a distance.
- Degas takes on painting the perspective of a three-quarters angle, focusing towards the corner where all the dancers wait for their dismissal instead of at a direct wall. This gives the painting a more realistic image.
- Edgar Degas had the style of Impressionist through the use of his lighting. The light appears to be seeping in through a window onto the studio floor, with the dancers facing that direction. Therefore, the backs of the dancers nearest the right edge are soaked in shadow.