Monday, January 08, 2007

Alone on Stage

L'etoile [La danseuse sur la scene] (The Star [Dancer on Stage]) 1878, by Edgar Degas, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

Degas did a large series of paintings and sculptures of ballet dancers, all levels of dancers and on the stage and behind the scenes. When I was a child, a print of this painting was in my bedroom. I remember the eyes freaked me out because they were all black.


Tricia said...

I really like Degas. They had an Exhibit in Minneapolis about 5 years ago that I saw, and loved. About 5 years ago I was in New York and saw quite a bit of his stuff at the Metro as well.

I also wanted to say that I am going to miss these bloggs, for a while. I usually check them every day, but I am getting a new job, and I don't have Internet access at home right now. So I will still be checking, but a bit more sporadically :( But I am looking into getting a Laptop, and then all will be right in "my" world again ;) I love your blog... Keep it up!

Martha said...

Thank you.


John Schoffstall said...

Love this pic. I use it on my log-in screen.

As you mention, one of the interesting things about Degas and the dancers is that he didn't just paint the glitz, but the backstage as well. Not just dancers looking glorious in the spotlight, but dancers exhausted and depressed, practicing, loafing.

In this painting, for example, it would have been easy just to depict the dancer, moving beautifully in the light. But we see not just her, but the sets *as sets*, and glimpse the stage hands and other dancers waiting behind them. We see the beauty of the ballet, but also the mechanism behind it, and a glimpse into the lives of the ballet company.

The title is a little ironic.

Jane Librizzi said...

My mother had a print of this picture next to her dressing table when I was a child. It's deligthful to see it again. I am enjoying your website, now that I've just found it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I really like this painting, but i don't understand the Interpretation of it. My Teacher says that usually the title helps you understand, all i can't think of is, the girl in the middle is a Star. COme to think of it, i don't think thats right maybe there more to it, like, shes a star, not very detailed? there must be something deeper.

Khrysteena said...

I think the artist was trying to show that, when it’s your turn to dance, you’re a star; no one can steal your spot light now. It’s not anybody’s, but the girl’s time to shine in her performance. The reason I think of this because the ballet dancers in the background are either hidden or to dark to tell what they look like. Coming from this I think the artist I trying to show that, when your on stage, it feels as if there was really no one there, to ruin your moment. Because your faces show our identity, if we no longer have that, then were nobody’s. All eyes are on that ONE dancer. another thing is that, the dancers in the background are all in a shadow, yet the spot light is on the dance in the middle of the stage, she glowing with radiance, she so bright, just like a star.

Anonymous said...

I was recently given a rather large essay to do on an impressionist artist. When we had to pick a picture I was immediately drawn to this one, as I had always dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer when I was litle. I had never heard of Edgar Degas though,until now, and I am struggling to find information about him such as his background etc. Do you know of any websites I could use?

Martha said...

There are website links inbedded in the post.

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