Edgar Degas - Dance Opera 1874

Dance Opera 1874
Dance Opera
1874 pastel
Private Collection

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From Philadelphia Museum of Art:
Degas's paintings of ballet classrooms are among his most celebrated and complex works. He based the earliest of them on the practice rooms in the old Opéra house on the rue le Peletier, manipulating the spaces and architectural features as he experimented with his compositions. Several paintings dating to the early 1870s represent the principal classroom known as the foyer de jour, a large room lit by three arched windows.
As Degas painted new variants of the dance class he introduced different elements, such as columns or a spiral staircase, to add fresh pictorial drama. Degas continued to invoke the foyer de jour in his imagination even after the old theater was destroyed in 1873, producing subtle variations on this crucial room, a brutal training ground for new recruits to the dance and the haunt of the exhausted and the idle.