Dancer with Bouquet (1877) Edgar Degas Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Edgar Degas created an endless number of stunning masterpieces that capture the artist's greatest loves.

The artist's admiration for ballet is evident throughout his work with pieces titled Dancers In Green, Three Ballet Dancers, and Ballet Scene. These captivating artworks illustrate the mystical movement of the female body while performing for a grand audience. As Degas was a part of the upper class, he was granted the luxury to attend endless performance in the arts. This socialization inspired many pieces in the artist's life, rather than solemnly acquiring the content from his imagination. Whether it was a circus performer, a singer, or a ballerina, the artistÕs work is filled with these stunning women. The painting Dancer with Bouquet largely resembles another piece titled Dancer With A Bouquet Bowing. People of these pieces showcase a ballerina at the end of her performance accepting a grand bouquet from the audience. The artist adored these images throughout his work as he felt that it captured a significant moment of the show not everyone realizes as an important moment.

While many adore the performance, not many admire the moment in which they applaud the act. Degas felt that it were these moments that were truly authentic as the performer is no longer performing. The painting shows the young woman bending towards the crowd in a bow as she holds the bouquet. The bouquet in her left hand is covered in bright pink and red flowers. It's wrapped in a purple fabric alongside another white one. The ballerina's other hand is raised towards the ceiling in the opposite direction. She opens her chest as her hands fling to the side. The woman is balancing on her left foot, as her right leg flings towards her back. She's effortlessly balancing as she lifts her body for the crowd to see. While Degas is immensely known for the side profile viewpoints he integrates within his work, it seems as if the painting is based in the centre.

The woman's face is lightly lifted enough for the viewer to catch a glimpse of her features. Dark eyes fill her face, alongside a pointy nose and red coloured lips. The artist uses shade and light to contour the woman's features. There is contrast in her skin, opposite to the usually pale colour many of artist's other paintings depict. It's quite evident that Degas uses pastels in order to create the piece. He meticulously uses these materials to create the stunning costume of the ballerina. Her yellow and white dress captures rich hues and adds life into the painting. As the ballerina is dressed in a classic romantic tutu the artist makes sure to create a large skirt. He begins with the pastels near her waist, dragging it to the outer corners of the skirt. This creates a grand illusion of a full skirt with multiple layers.

The top part of the woman's dress deepens into a richer colour as it falls off the shoulder. The woman's hair is neatly braided, falling towards her back. Degas commonly showcased such stunning dresses throughout his art. Some of these beautiful pieces include Three Ballet Dancers, Dancer Tilting, and Dancers In Pink. To add greater depth to the piece, the artist continued to create a story in the background. The viewer's attention is drawn to a large group of performers huddled together near the back of the stage. It is unclear whether they are performing, or instead whether they are taking a break. Nevertheless, the artist fills the room with dark shades of brown to create depth and confusion in the background. The artist is more consumed with the viewer appreciating the ballerina dressed in yellow, rather than the remaining characters.