Degas Paintings, Capturing the Essence of the Ballet
Edgar Degas, son of a wealthy bank official, was born in Paris, later studying art at his home city’s famous Ecole Des Beaux-Arts. In Italy he later spent five years learning from the work of masters that went before him. His paintings during this period included Russian Dancers, The Rehearsal, The Dance Class and Two Dancers on a Stage.
Upon his return to France in 1859, Edgar Degas exhibited these works. He soon joined the ranks of Impressionist painters.
The entertainment world especially intrigued Degas and shows up often in his works throughout his life. Some of his most famous paintings, The Rehearsal, and Two Dancers on Stage, show of his fascination with the beauty and sophistication of ballet.
Edgar Degas preferred painting in an art studio, which was unusual for the Impressionists of that time. He would sketch his subjects where he found them and then later return to his studio to capture them on oil and canvas.
Degas spent a lot of his life studying and admiring Japanese prints and the Japanese tendency toward daring composition and large spots of flat coloring show up in several of his works.
In later years of his life Degas turned from oil painting to clay and wax sculpturing and printmaking. The paintings he did produce at this time were pastel. In the 1890’s as he concentrated on printmaking he worked almost solely with female nudes. After serving in the war with Germany for one year in 1870 Edgar Degas began losing his eyesight and his sculpturing came of his inability to decipher paintings and colors enough to create them any longer.