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Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot

Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot

Edgar Degas, (1834 - 1917, French)

A leading figure associated with French Realism and Impressionism, Degas was fascinated with the natural qualities of the human body in motion. Although he is best known for his paintings and pastel drawings of female bathers and ballet dancers, Degas also sculpted figures in wax in order to better understand mass and volume, and “give [his] paintings and drawings greater expressiveness, intensity and vitality.” 

Untitled wax sculptures like this one remained in his studio until they were discovered after his death, restored and cast in bronze. Awkward yet natural, the model’s informal pose creates an air of intimacy that suggests the source of inspiration may have been a bather rather than a dancer. The accentuation of body position, weight and movement displayed by this figure is characteristic of Degas’s uninhibited kinesthetic approach to realism.

Located in the Mary Anderson Room.

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