Figures in Motion

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

  • French Impressionist painter and sculptor
  • Favorite subjects were ballet dancers, cafe life, and race track scenes
  • Degas made sketches of figures in motion from life. From these he organized his finished work in his studio, rather than working directly from nature as his contemporaries did.
  • His work in sculpture included many notable works of dancers and horses.

WHAT IS THE PROMINANT ELEMENT OF DESIGN THAT WE FIND IN DEGAS WORK?

"It is the movement of people and things that captures my attention." - Edgar Degas

Love for Capturing Motion

"Edgar Degas was fascinated by the quality of movement, which he expressed through his dynamic compositions. Degas went to many theatrical performances, but his favorite was ballet. He painted this theme over and over, always searching for new ways to capture."

"He used horses and riders in the same way that he used ballet dancers - to show movement through composition."

~Scholastic Art, Sept/Oct 1994

WHAT SORTS OF LINES CREATE MOVEMENT?

7-HEAD PROPORTION

Size relationship of parts to a whole and to one another (head to body).