Edgar Degas

Two Dancers

Two Dancers
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Edgar Degas
Painting, Charcoal and pastel, 47.8x36.2 cm
Origin: France, Circa 1898/1899

In the second half of the 1890s, Degas painted many dancers caught at the moment just before they go on stage. Usually they are straightening something - a shoulder strap, earring, or coiffure - a gesture which precisely captures their nervous anticipation. Backstage scenes and fleeting episodes in the wings always fascinated him, even more than the brilliance of the stage itself.

This pastel shows a pair of dancers with one woman fixing an earring and the other adjusting her hair. The very triviality of the motif, constantly repeated, guaranteed absolute concentration on colour and form. The picture's composition is endowed with both stability and motion. To achieve stability Degas employed the principle of the pyramid .

Style: Impressionism
Source of entry: formerly in the collection of Otto Krebs, Holzdorf
Theme: Theatre
Transferred from Germany after World War II

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