Botticelli to Van Gogh

Learning Resource

A painting of four ballerinas stretching in an undefined studio space.

Edgar Degas
Ballet Dancers

c. 1890–1900

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. Ballet Dancers. c. 1890–1900. © The National Gallery, London


Look at this image by Degas of a ballet rehearsal. Degas did many paintings and sketches of this subject matter. Why do you think Degas was interested in the training rather than the final performance?

Think about how Degas has used paint to create a sense of movement in this oil sketch of ballet dancers. See how the canvas support has not been covered by the paint and shows through in many places. Artists developed a new style of painting to capture the increasing speed of modern life.

Create an image of movement by doing a continuous line drawing. You could sit in a park or city street and let your biro or felt pen follow someone passing by. Try not to look at your drawing, but watch the moving person. You are trying to capture the movement, rather than an exact likeness.

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