Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917): Dancers in Pink, ca. 1876, Oil

Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917): Dancers in Pink, ca. 1876, Oil

1/19/2021, 10:13:31 AM
Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917): Dancers in Pink, ca. 1876, Oil on canvas, 59 x 74 cm (23¼ x 29¼ in.), Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, Connecticut, USA . . Degas drew his dancers in realistic, contemporary settings as opposed to the idealized, classical style that was accepted by the academics of his time. 'Dancers in Pink' possesses a beauty which hangs tough against reductionism and remains a delightful reminder that visual beauty is indeed a distinct language with an important symbolic and real place in the larger reality, even if such a larger reality for  the time being, is no longer accepted, understood, or simply neglected. The painting is distinct even from its own structure lines which by themselves say nothing similar to the picture, yet are clearly part of it. That's the beauty of the structurelines, established by as little as two end points, they don't actually exist. They're virtual  or invisible, move at unlimited speed and possess unlimited strength, yet other movements can flow right through them. Four of the figures in the painting look left and that's the dominant force along with the dancer's pink dresses, which combine to form a shape overlapping into the left side of the picture. The power of the dresses is increased by burying the faces in shadows, which still retain their dominance, but less so than if they were in light. It's a back and forth circulation often used by the artist. The dancer's arm on hip forms an arrow and head of the overall shape. Another movement is a slower draping effect between the upper left through the straps of the central dancers and across the bottom edge of the dress on our right, which moves both ways.

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