Best of Edgar Degas
The Greatest Draftsman
That Ever Lived
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degas Works are in Public Domain in the
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Edgar Degas (19 July 1834 – 27 September
1917), was a French artist known for his
paintings and pastel drawings. While he was
a contemporary of French Impressionist
painters Oscar Monet and Alfred Sisley, he
refused to call his works impressionist in
style. He preferred to be called a realist.
An outstanding draftsman, his favorite
subject were dancers. Over half his works
depict dancers. According to many critics
Degas was one of the greatest draftsmen who
have ever lived.
Degas works display his mastery in the
representation of movement. This is evident
as well in his racecourse and nude subjects.
Technically, Degas differs from the
Impressionists in that he "never adopted the
Impressionist color fleck", and he
continually belittled their practice of
painting en plein air. "He was often as
anti-impressionist as the critics who
reviewed the shows", according to art
historian Carol Armstrong; as Degas himself
explained, "no art was ever less spontaneous
What I do is the result of reflection and of
the study of the great masters; of
inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I
know nothing." Nonetheless, he is described
more accurately as an Impressionist than as
a member of any other movement.
His scenes of Parisian life, his off-center
compositions, his experiments with color and
form, and his friendship with several key
Impressionist artists—most notably Mary
Cassatt and Édouard Manet—all relate him
intimately to the Impressionist movement.
Degas despises glory. It is believed that he
has by him a number of canvases which will
have to be burnt after his death in
accordance with his will. He is a man who
has loved his art like a mistress, with
jealous passion, and has sacrificed to it
all that other artists—enthusiasts even—are
accustomed to reserve for their personal
interest. Degas, the incomparable
pastellist, the faultless draftsman, the
bitter, satirical, pessimistic genius, is an
isolated phenomenon in his period, a grand
creator, unattached to his time.
Finally, he will be counted among the great
analysts. His vision, tenacious, intense,
and sombre, stimulates thought: across what
appears to be the most immediate and even
the most vulgar reality it reaches a grand,
artistic style; it states profoundly the
facts of life, it condenses a little the
human soul: and this will suffice to secure
for Degas an important place in his epoch, a
little apart from Impressionism. Without
noise, and through the sheer charm of his
originality, he has contributed his share
towards undermining the false doctrines of
academic art before the painters, as Manet
has undermined them before the public.
Best of Edgar Degas DVD contains over
50 medium to high resolution (ideal
for print) of his best works.
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