Museoteca - The dance hall at the Opera Le Peletier Street, Degas, Edgar
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Work information

Title: The dance hall at the Opera Le Peletier Street
Artist: Degas, Edgar
Chronology: 1872
Technique: Oil on canvas

Born into a musical family, Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was a regular at the Opera: he appreciates the different art forms are represented, but in spite of his love for opera, singers and opera scenes inspire him very little work while he spends musicians a cycle of paintings dancers and a large number of works as varied in their themes and in the techniques used.

Degas became interested in the world of dance in the 1860s, but it was not until 1874 that it presents for the first time in the first Impressionist Salon, a work devoted to ballet. During the 1870s and 1880s, Degas represents the dancers of the Opera realistically: can recognize some contemporary artists and the scene. This is the case of the Opera on the rue Le Peletier: Degas fantasized place long after its destruction, it was frequented by the artist in his youth. The affection Degas for him is such that the revived in many paintings; However, as also to the Opera Garnier, the painter does not care in the details of these places, but it faithfully reproduces the spirit portraying those who inhabit them.

The Foyer dance at the Opera on the rue Le Peletier, painted some years ago, is a wiser composition. The arch of the mirror which occupies the central part of the bottom gives classic touch to the whole. The ballet master Louis Mérante here; he holds a stick, but younger, he does not need to lean on and raises his left hand in a hieratic gesture. To his right, the violinist waiting repetition resumes.

The curriculum honorum dancers of the Opera has five levels: quadrille coryphée, subject, first dancer and star; only the most talented and dedicated can get out of the ballet and reach the top of the hierarchy, but sometimes one of them has the support of a protective influence for career.

Degas justice to the Foyer of the Opera, often associated with amorous encounters between dancers and subscribers but we forget that it is also used for dance classes and the first pantomime dancers and rehearsals stars.

Degas's success as "painter of dancers" rather than mainly about how he approached him. The dancers are the subject of ownership desire of rich merchants and aristocrats, tables that represent become collectibles and the symbol of a society that likes to live like in a show. However, if share the general enthusiasm generated ballet and dancers under the Second Empire and the Third Republic, he does it in an original way: far be interested in the externality and vanity who charm ballettomanes it goes to the heart of the world of dance.

Source: Gabriella Asaro. Meeting of National-Museum Grand Palais

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