Degas and the Ballet at the Royal Academy Article Review by ClemenceD

Degas and the Ballet at the Royal Academy
Presents the article by Alastair Sooke, 'Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement, Royal Academy of Arts,' in "The Telegraph", which reviews the Degas show at this museum.
# 151838 | 805 words | 1 source | MLA | 2012 | GB
Published on Oct 12, 2012 in Art (Artists) , Art (Photography) , Art (Sculpture)

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This paper explains that the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition of Edgar Degas and the ballet takes the artist out of the usual Impressionist sphere and into his 'Realist' work with his using the new device of photography as a means to capture the human figure in complex movement. Next, the author describes the sculpture by Degas, "The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen", 1880-81, and its relationship to the photographs of Eadweard Muybridge, "Woman dancing (Fancy)", plate 187 of Animal Locomotion, 1884-86. The paper concludes that this exhibition at the Royal Academy masterfully demonstrates a new aspect of this artist's oeuvre by presenting an original thesis and illustrating it with beautifully chosen and sometimes rare pieces. Photographs are included. An MLA style reference is to be found in a footnote.

From the Paper:

"Degas's art was based on close and thorough observation and one of the highlights of the exhibition provides us with a perfect example: the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, c. 1880-1881. Known for being Degas's much celebrated and criticized sculpture, and actually the only one displayed during his lifetime, it is presented in a bronze version at the very centre of the room, surrounded by a series of drawings that preceded it, each individual figure studies corresponding to one angle of view. When 'rearranged' around the central point as it is clearly shown in the nearby diagram on a wall panel, it becomes clear that the artist has effectively circled round his model, the young Marie van Goethem from the Opera Ballet. As opposed to his usual practice, his model here adopted a stationary pose while he himself became an observer in motion. Degas literally 'tracking' the body in space -- this movement also relates to that of the gentlemen coming before the performance in Paris Opera when, at the back of the stage, they looked for their favourite dancers, the one that would suit their own desires. Here, these dubious practices associated with dancers are hardly hinted at, thus letting a full range of reality aside. Degas, indeed, embodies the type of artist Baudelaire would have called a Painter of Modern Life, attempting to grasp at "the transient, the fleeting, the contingent.""

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Alastair Sooke, 'Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement, Royal Academy of Arts,' The Telegraph, 12 September 2011.

Cite this Article Review:

APA Format

Degas and the Ballet at the Royal Academy (2012, October 12) Retrieved September 27, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Degas and the Ballet at the Royal Academy" 12 October 2012. Web. 27 September. 2023. <>