Interpretive Resource

Quick Facts: Degas's Portrayal of Performers

Quick facts about the artist's drawings of the ballet.

CD: With Open Eyes
Art Institute of Chicago. With Open Eyes: Images from The Art Institute of Chicago. CD-ROM. New York: Voyager, 1994.

Degas loved watching performers in action. He went to the ballet, the racetrack, and the circus, always with his sketchbook in hand. At the ballet, he didn’t usually sit among the audience. Rather, he watched from the sidelines and backstage, where he sketched the beautiful performers from unusual angles. Often his paintings and drawings show dancers just before they go on stage, or after their performance. Ballet dancers place their feet very carefully. Are the feet of any of the other dancers in the same position as the star’s?

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Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas

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