18/12/2011 Degas and the Ballet at the London Royal Academy

Degas and the Ballet: Picturing movement was an exhibition that was running until Sunday 11 December 2011 at the Royal Academy.

Two Dancers on the Stage, Edgar Degas, 1874
Two Dancers on the Stage, Edgar Degas, 1874

This exhibition was designed over three main axis: The obcession of Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) for the Ballet, the interest of the late 19th centuary for the movement and finally the impact of the rise of photography.

For a long time in his career, Edgar Degas had a low consideration for the photography media as it wasn't able to capture his topic of interest: Movement of the ballet dancers. How to take a picture of ballet dancer in an Opera with such dim light? However, in 1895, thanks to the progress of the photography intruments, he started using a camera to produce pictures which aren't without making us remember the Clair Obscur technique, far from what Edgar Degas used to do in his painting.

Dancer adjusting her shoulder strap, Edgar Degas, 1895
Dancer adjusting her shoulder strap, Edgar Degas, 1895

His study of black and white photography had a direct impact to his painting technique and I have the feeling that he understood better what is the uniqueness that painting can produce but also what photography could provide to painting. His painting became more colorful and his technique evolve to produce a visual which recalls photography noise.

Three Dancers (Blue Skirts, Red Bodices), Edgar Degas, 1903
Three Dancers (Blue Skirts, Red Bodices), Edgar Degas, 1903
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