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Degas and the Ballet: picturing movement – Royal Academy of Arts

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Degas and the Ballet: picturing movement

“It is an amazing exhibition”

David Franchi – Sunday 19th September 2011

It is an amazing exhibition “Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement” at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly. It is focused, in fact, on ‘movement’ one of the most famous art topics of the nineteenth- twentieth century approached from the point of view of the famous French artist Degas and his body of work on ballet.
The importance of movement as an art theme is undoubtedly. Futurism or Vorticism, for example, made of it an inspiration. It was one of the basic principles that pushed the technology research to invent, for instance, the camera or the film.
Degas and the ballet: picturing movement” presents a landmark exhibition focusing on the French artist fascination with movements of dance. The Royal Academyexhibition traces the development of Degas ballet imagery throughout his career, from the documentary style of the early 1870s to the opulent expressiveness of his final years. The exhibition includes around 85 paintings, sculptures, pastels, drawings, prints and photographs by Degas, as well as photographs by his contemporaries, and examples of early film.Degas lived in the decades that have seen the birth and first developments of cinema and photography. The Royal Academy exhibition, in fact, presents Degas’s progressive engagement with the figure in movement in the context of parallel advances in photography and early film. Degas was really open to the new technologies and often directly involved with them.

Highlights of the exhibition include such masterpieces as the celebrated sculpture ‘Little Dancer Aged Fourteen’ (1880-81), which is displayed with a group of superb preparatory drawings that together show the artist tracking around his subject like a cinematic eye.
Degas was strictly connected with photographers Etienne-Jules Marey, Eadweard Muybridge and film-makers Lumière brothers. “Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement” investigates this Parisian network and their experiments and works with new technologies and art. Therefore, Degas could be considered a modern, radical artist who intensely faced visual problems and was fully familiar with the technological developments of his time.
Hilaire- Germain- Edgar De Gas, (19th July 1834) was famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is considered as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a Realist. A superb draughtsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half of his works depict dancers. He was a master in depicting movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes.
Degas was born in Paris from a moderately wealthy family. He began to paint early in life. He travelled and lived in Italy and in the USA. As the years passed, Degas became isolated, due in part to his belief that a painter could not have a personal life. His argumentative nature was deplored. He never married. Nearly blind restlessly wandered the streets of Paris before dying the 27th September 1917.
Curators are Richard Kendall, Curator at Large, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown (USA), Jill DeVonyar, independent curator, and Ann Dumas, Exhibition Curator, Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition is sponsored by BNY Mellon.
Showing until 11th October 2011
At the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD
Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk
Direct Link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7507

Written by davidfranchi

September 24, 2011 at 12:22 am

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