Edgar Degas - Ballet Dancers in the Wings 1890

Ballet Dancers in the Wings 1890
Ballet Dancers in the Wings
1890 71x66cm pastel/paper
Saint Louis Art Museum

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From Saint Louis Art Museum:
The four women portrayed in Degas's pastel were not the sought-after prima ballerinas of Parisian high society, but rather unglamorous junior members of the Opera ballet corps. In this drawing, they are shown out of the limelight, most slumped from exhaustion, awaiting their next cue. As a season ticket holder to the ballet, Degas was one of the few audience members allowed access to backstage scenes like this.
Working in luminous pastels, Degas charged the picture with color. Rosy pinks, lemon yellows, and shimmering aquatic blues and greens energize the composition. These are not realistic colors, but vivid emanations drawn from the artist's imagination. The composition is unusual, as the women are organized laterally in two distinct groups, creating a cascading diagonal of figures from upper left to lower right.