Degas Edgar was a French painter. His compositions, skillful drawings, and perceptive analysis of movement made him one of the greatest artists of modern art in the late 19th century.
Degas is usually classed with the impressionists and exhibited his work in seven of the eight impressionist exhibitions. However, even though he was classed as an impressionist, his training in classical drafting and his dislike of painting directly from nature created a style that represented a related alternative to impressionism.
Degas was born into a well-to-do banking family on July 19, 1834, in Paris. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under a student of the famous French classicists Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingres. Here is where Degas developed his great ability that was to be an outstanding. After 1865, he gave up academic subjects to turn to contemporary themes. But unlike the impressionists, he preferred to work in the studio and did not want to study about light that fascinated them. Theatrical subjects, such as ballet, cafés, music halls, racecourses, and etc, attracted him. He was a clear observer of humanity as well, especially of women. He studied the movement of ballet dancers, milliners, and laundresses, which he would later use in his portraits. He attempted to catch his subjects in poses as natural and spontaneous as those recorded in photographs.
In 1880’s when his eyesight began to fail, Degas began increasingly to work in two new media that did not require strong visual insight. He started sculpturing and using pastels. In sculptors, as in his paintings, he attempted to catch the action of the movement. He usually sculpted ballet dancers and female nudes. His pastels are usually simple compositions containing very few figures. He was thankful to depend on vibrant colors and meaningful gestures rather than on specific lines and details. These works are open and expressive and are incomparable to any of his other works.
Sadly, Degas was not well known to the public, and his true artistic standing was not shown until after his death. He died in Paris on September 27, 1917.
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