Dancers Backstage 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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The stunning artistry of Edgar Degas has earned him the title as one of the most influential artists through his work in contributing to Impressionism.

The artist adoration of ballet is a classic element throughout his work. His paintings are often compared to those of Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet, as these artists held a similar style. Dancers Backstage is a classic piece that has transcended through time as an eye-opening piece of work. The painting illustrates a young ballerina standing near the centre of the piece. The viewer's focus falls to her as she is showcased in the most detail compared to the other figures in the painting. As the title refers to the woman behind backstage, it seems as if the ballerina is preparing to take the stage. The only thing Edgar Degas may have adored more than portraying the ballerinas themselves, is showing the behind the scene moments. Degas felt privy and significant that he was able to witness what goes on behind the scenes before or after the curtains closed. Some of the pieces with this message include Before The Curtain Call, The Actresses Dressing Eoom, and Dancer Against A Stage Flat.

These paintings are all significant as they showcase to the viewer what goes on before the ballerinas enter the stage. All of the distress and chaos that goes into putting on a stunning and captivating show. It's unknown whether Degas held access to behind the stage, or endlessly fantasized what went on. Dancers Backstage is a perfect painting that illustrate the artist's obsession. The prominent ballerina near the centre of the frame holds her hands folded against her stomach. This pose suggests that she is indeed nervous to go onto the stage and perform. It seems as if the woman near the left of the canvas is yet another performer preparing to take the stage. While not a lot of informants is showcased through the scene, the viewer also wonders what goes on behind the curtain. The interesting element to notice is the man near the left side of the painting. There is another piece by Degas titled Two Dancers Entering The Stage, that illustrates a man behind the scene looking at the ballerinas. Perhaps this man is Degas gaining access to view things from behind the curtains. Or instead, who he wishes to be to truly see what goes on. Either way, the viewer wonders who this individual is, and if indeed it is the artist himself.

The remainder of the painting is filled with bright shades of green ranging from light to dark. The swirling green brush strokes seems to resemble vegetation as the background of the stage. Small glimpses of pink flowers are also painted onto the green vegetation to resemble rose bushes. It's interesting to witness that the colours of the flowers on the bush match exactly with the young woman's dress. Both colours are based in soft pink shades. The ballerina's dress also has a hint of salmon that adds some contrast to her outfit. The ballerina's hair is tied in a tight bun, with bangs hitting her face. Yet another bright pink flower is secured behind her ear, adding to her ensemble. Finally, a tight black ribbon is tied around the back of her neck, Adding some definition to her look. All of these elements intertwine together as one, blending into one another. The artist simply moves his brush strokes as one to create a greater feel through his work. All of these shades endlessly merge together as one, adding life to the canvas through the endless green colours.