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The colours used by Edgar Degas in his pastels were both bright and bold, providing a summary of some of the qualities of the impressionist artists.
His prolific use of pastels meant this element of his drawing output should be covered separately, which we do so here.
Variety of mediums
Served as studies and standalone artworks
In some cases his drawings would be preparation for later paintings, but in many cases they were standalone artworks in their own right. The artist would travel around with a collection of sketchbooks in which he would construct drawings to varying levels of completeness as well as making notes on his thoughts at the time.
Specialised in pastels across an extended period
Degas was a renowned draughtsman who appreciated the abilities of pastels to lift his charcoal work with a burst of bright colour and perhaps fill the gap between drawings and fully fledged paintings. Degas would have to consider his application of pastel when adding over charcoal as a particularly strong use of it would completely cover any original detail.
Transitioned from one theme to the next
The changes in content in his pastels would mirror his other mediums, as he went through different phases of inspiration. There were, of course, the ballerinas and the scenes from horse races. Additionally, he would depict a rougher side of parisien life from local brothels and cafes (see absinthe). There were then the depictions of woman in varying levels of undress as they preparared for the day ahead.