2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
The impressionist artist Edgar Degas was born in the capital of France, his father was a banker. The boy studied drawing at the School of Fine Arts. His talent was noticeable from childhood, but he began to create real masterpieces much later.
Paintings on historical themes
At the end of the 1850s, when Edgar was in Italy, he managed to get acquainted with the work of old artists. Soon he returned to France and painted several paintings based on historical plots (competition of Spartan boys and girls, Semiramis laying the city, etc.). But perhaps only the themes were classic in these canvases: Edgar's Greeks looked like the inhabitants of Paris, and the manner of depiction was quite relaxed and fresh.
In the 1860s, the artist paints some amazing portraits, somewhat reminiscent of the works of Ingres, but in general, very original and recognizable. In these paintings, the qualities inherent in all the works of Degas are already clearly visible: objectivity, the desire to convey all the details as accurately as possible, noble colors, elegance. The letter can be calledsoft, like Ingres, but the style of the canvas is similar to the masterpieces of Manet. The portrait of a woman with flowers deserves special attention - this has never happened before in the history of painting. The artist, without any hesitation, places the lady on the edge, and part of her torso is cut off.
Fashion trends in art. What did Degas portray?
From the 1860s to the 1870s, the artist often visits the Guerbois cafe, and sometimes also looks into New Athens. These institutions were also often visited by Manet and his comrades. Paintings by Degas are regularly shown at exhibitions of impressionist artists. What was considered relevant at the time? First of all, the embodiment of direct emotions in the canvases, in addition, modern artists did not shy away from immersing themselves in the life of the common people, they drew inspiration from there.
Edgar Degas, whose paintings leave no one indifferent, stood out from the Impressionist crowd in that he depicted exclusively figurative compositions, but he soon ceased to limit himself to portraits only and began to write horse riders, horse races, plots in cabaret and cafes, laundresses, seamstresses, dancers, as well as girls putting themselves in order.
The Parisian creator considered the demonstration of the truth of life to be the meaning of his activity. By the way, he was always against embellishing her.
An amazing paradox, a foretaste of modern cinema
Each painting by Degas is the result of extensive observation and painstaking work to turn them into a finished image. There was nothing immediate in his canvases, hehe pondered every detail for a long time, and in this he was similar to Poussin. But all his paintings are different in that they depict a moment, a very fragile moment. It would seem that Edgar Degas saw a certain image quite by accident and hastily portrayed it. Therein lies the paradox. When looking at the artist's picture, it may seem that she froze for just a second, and soon all the details on it will come into motion. And so it should be. So plausibly Degas conveyed the frantic rhythm of life characteristic of his time. The artist had a weakness for movement and wanted to depict only it. Renoir said that this was generally characteristic of many creators of that era.
Here, Edgar Degas, whose biography is full of interesting facts, painted the corresponding pictures: running horses, dancers rehearsing, ballet, women ironing linen, combing, dressing up and washing girls. The canvases of the Parisian creator, without exaggeration, can be called a collection of human movements and poses. In addition, they are distinguished by an original angle, due to which even a still image may seem to waver. Many impressionists added images of oriental engravings to their creations, but Degas never did this. However, they were undoubtedly close to him, because they were also distinguished by dynamism.
The artist can be considered in a sense a prophet, as he anticipated the advent of modern photography and films. It is interesting that the people depicted on his canvases seem to be captured not with an ordinary, but with a hidden camera. As for the girlsputting themselves in order, then Edgar Degas said that until some time, naked representatives of the fair sex appeared in paintings in such unnaturally erotic poses that it seemed as if there was an observer in front of whom they showed off. And his women are completely relaxed and not trying to please anyone, but are completely busy washing, combing and dressing.
Prose gives birth to poetry
Degas always wanted to penetrate the secrets of life, and he can be considered both a romantic nature and an objective observer at the same time. There are beautiful moments in his paintings as well as harsh truths.
You can understand this by looking at his canvases, which are based on ballet. He depicts both the theatrical "behind the scenes" and the fabulous performance unfolding on the stage. Rustic and absolutely unromantic ballerinas turn before our eyes into elegant fairies, it is prose that gives rise to poetry. How well Edgar Degas understood this regularity! A ballerina becomes a graceful butterfly as soon as she begins her dance.
Using pastels, changing style
With age, Degas increasingly begins to turn to pastel, usually combining it with gouache, lithography or monotype. He liked her because of her noble softness, combined with the richness and severity of the shade, as well as the beautiful haze. Over time, the style of the artist becomes more and more monumental. There is no longer a variety of small details, and color and line merge into one. Quite a noticeable change in creativity. As for the later paintings of Degas, the most important place in them isoccupies color, this radiant, free, amazing element.
In the canvases depicting ballerinas painted at the end of the century, the artist, still skillfully capturing the moment, is already heading towards a more monumental vision of the twentieth century, it can even be considered a harbinger of Fauvism.
Almost all his life, Degas made sculptures: he made figures of running horses, dancers in elegant poses and girls putting themselves in order from clay and colored wax. Toward the end of his life, the artist developed an eye disease, and he could no longer paint pictures, but only de alt with these figurines. Edgar Degas, whose sculptures were unknown to the world for a long time, hid another of his talents from the public. His last years were dramatic: the creator, who surprised his comrades with impeccable eyesight, died with very poor vision.
Separately, it should be said about this picture. At first glance, it may seem that music is about to sound, pure shades shine so cheerfully and iridescently. This picture personifies complete looseness and freedom. However, critics and viewers often mocked the artist for "cutting off" the image, they said that Degas simply could not harmoniously place an object or person on the canvas, keep within its size.
This picture is painted in pastel, as mentioned above, Edgar Degas loved her, because she allowed to connect line and color. A few dancerswould merge into one, the whole canvas is saturated with the idea of harmonious movement. What is in front of us: a frozen moment of rehearsal, performance? Or is the image of the same girl depicted on the canvas, but from different angles? Probably the viewer will not ask this question, as he will be fascinated by the radiance of the sky color, which is darker in some areas and lighter in others. Skirts shimmer and sparkle, mesmerizing with their brilliance…
Thanks to this picture, a wide range of people learned who Edgar Degas was. "Blue Dancers" brought him fame.
Figure in motion
Recently, the Hermitage hosted an exhibition en titled "Figure in Motion", which showed sculptures by Degas. These figurines look like they've stepped out of a painting. Many of the thirty bronze figures of the Parisian master were made during the period when he created the paintings. Some are based on an absolutely original idea that has no analogues. For example, the “Bath” figurine must be observed from above – nothing like this has ever happened in the history of sculpture.
The master has never shown his figurines, except for the "Little Dancer". Degas dressed her in real fabrics, which the critics categorically did not like. After this incident, the artist created figurines exclusively “for the soul”, and not for exhibitions.
Edgar Degas never made bronze. He made his sculptures from wax as well as clay. The master liked these materials. He could change something at will, for example, the position of the horse's leg.
In old age, when Degasalready poorly seen, he only made such figures. After his death, 150 wax figurines were found in his apartment - almost all of them were similar to his canvases: ballerinas, women washing, horse riders.
The sculptures discovered by the artist's relatives were made bronze, resulting in 74 figurines that were donated to the best museums.
To all the people who visited this exhibition, such a wonderful creator as Edgar Degas opened up in a new way. "Figure in motion" has become a real sensation for connoisseurs of art.
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