The Rehearsal 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 is a pioneer of impressionism, while commonly still referring to himself as a realist.

However, The Rehearsal carries significant elements of both realism and Impressionism. The artist used a different domain of art to illustrate the significance of the scene he was trying to portray. The painting uncovers a number of ballerinas rehearsing for the recital. A multitude of these figure jump onto one another as one large array of characters. The viewer's focus does not fall towards one particular individual, and rather towards the piece as a whole. The vast room is filled in dark shades of brown creating a gloomy environment. The character portrayed in most detail is the ballerina sitting near the centre of the room. She is dressed in a grand romantic tutu that falls towards her knees.

While the canvas is covered in such dark hues of brown, Degas was brilliant enough to showcase the chiffon material carefully. As the setting is only of a rehearsal, the young woman wears a baggy dark sweater on top to keep her warm. Perhaps the seaso at the time of the painting was winter. The girl is seated on a stool with her legs open and feet pointing in opposite direction. Edgar Degas was so immensely fascinated with the point of dancers that he often portrayed it throughout his work. He commonly represents the ballerinas within his artwork with their feet in constant pliŽ positions. This is evident within his paintings Dancers In Green, Dancers Entering The Stage, and Resting.

To the right of the sitting ballerina is part of another woman dressed in a grand white costume. An older woman who seems to resemble a teacher stands behind her and lifts her tutu to fix it. The viewer can witness an ample of layers piled upon one another in shades of peach and white. The older woman seems to have grey hair that's hidden with a darkened hat. The teacher is dressed in a large red costume falling towards the floor. In the background of the painting, the viewer is able to capture a group of ballerinas in sync. They're leaning forward as they throw their left leg behind them and reach their right hand out. This position is the exact same within the artistÕs other work Star Dancer On Pointe.

There are a few additional characters such as a man dressed in a red blouse and white jacket near the top right of the frame. Alongside, additional ballerinas merging into the background being the team dancing. Degas had included this large magnitude of ballerinas all together as one. The setting of the artwork is interesting to analyze as it's immensely dark and shades. Since it is based fairly far from a light source, the viewer isn't able to get a glimpse of exact detail. Rather the rich brown colour captures every part of the artwork as one.

The artist spends an immense amount of time illustrating the wooden floor boards. He uses a realist technique to truly manifest the texture. Using oil paint, he carefully showcases the bends throughout the floor. This similar brown shade bleeds into the walls of the room in a nude hue. Degas also spends time showcasing the spiral staircase near the left side of the room. This is an interesting prop to include within the piece as the artist does not usually focus on the setting. This stunning element adds a hint of architecture into the artwork. The grand rooms seizes the viewer as they imagine what other captivating things go on.