Saturday, February 11, 2012


Danseuse assise ( "Seated Dancer")
c. 1879-80
Charcoal and pastel on paper mounted on pasteboard
63.5 x 48.7 cm (25 x 19 1/8 in)
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

"the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown" (Degas)
Among the supreme masterpieces of the 20th century are Degas's pictures of the ballet and its dancers.
Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917), was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist.

Early in his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life. In company he was known for his wit, which could often be cruel. He was characterized as an "old curmudgeon", and he deliberately cultivated his reputation as a misanthropic bachelor. Profoundly conservative in his political opinions, he opposed all social reforms and found little to admire in such technological advances as the telephone. He fired a model upon learning she was Protestant.