Edgar Degas Paintings Oil Painting Reproductions
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Edgar Degas was one of the most prominent artists in the new style of painting which came to be known as Impressionism in France during the late nineteenth century. Born into an aristocratic family, he had the money and opportunity to pursue painting at his leisure. Though he is often categorized with the Impressionists, there are some aspects of his style which undeniably separate him from the rest of his completely Impressionist contemporaries. Despite this fact, he strongly supported the aims of the Impressionist to provide a new support for innovative art styles and promote the new sensibilities regarding art in a new manner. Though many less-savvy art lovers consider all blurry paintings to be of the Impressionist school, there are many other clear-cut differences which separated Degas from the other Impressionists. Some of these differences between Degas and the other Impressionists include the manner of the use of perspective. Degas employed the use of unusual and sharp angles of perspective to create innovative compositions of familiar subjects (such as a ballet performance). Other Impressionist artists tended to focus on wide scale subjects since they practiced their painting en plein air, or outdoors, in order to specifically analyze the light and color to truly determine the first impression of a scene and capture it effectively. However, Degas painted most often from memory after sessions with models or observations of scenes. Another difference between the two is the subject matter itself. Most Impressionists focused on landscape painting whereas Degas did much more work with the human figure and relationships between them than many of his contemporaries. Additionally, Degas also focused on scenes of daily life. In this way, Degas’ practices can be seen as more modern. Degas can also be considered a genre painter to some extent due to his specific focus on a few key daily life activities such as those of the laundress and those relating to the ballet, both formal performances and informal classes and rehearsals in backstage environments. By the late 1870’s, Degas had expanded his art techniques from oil paints to oil pastels, a dry medium which did not need a brush and allowed for new ways of layering color and texture while retaining certain aspects of the line that were more difficult with the wet and slow-drying medium of oil paints. The Dance Class, a work completed in 1873, provides the perfect view of Degas’ talents and abilities. The work was completed in oil paints, despite Degas affinity for the oil pastel medium. The diagonally based perspective of the painting allows the viewer’s eye to travel to the vanishing point of the painting and reminds the viewer of Degas love of experimenting with perspective. At the same time, the bright, yet pastel colors create a beginning impression sense that is one of the reasons behind Degas continued classification with his contemporaries, and close associates, as an Impressionist.