Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Edgar Degas: Bodies in Motion at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena Part I

On July 6th, I attended a talk at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena on movement in the work of Edgar Degas.  After the talk, I took photographs of the pieces highlighted in the talk and I am sharing them here.  This is part one of two posts that I will make on the topic.

Edgar Degas, Horse with Head Lowered & Horse and Jockey & Prancing Horse

While Edgar Degas is best known for his paintings and pastels, he also made many wax sculptures.  During his lifetime, only one of his sculptures was exhibited.  Later, others were cast into bronze.  Norton Simon purchased the master models that are currently on display at the Norton Simon.

Edgar Degas, Horse with Head Lowered & Horse and Jockey & Prancing Horse

Edgar Degas was a frequent visitor to the race track and felt that the motion of horses could not be captured by painting alone.  Eadweard Muybridge, a photographer whose works showed some of the earliest documentation of horses in motion with not even a hoof touching the ground, was a great source of inspiration to Degas.  

Edgar Degas, Horse Clearing an Obstacle & Horse Galloping on Right Foot

In some of the models of the horses, you may see places where the wire was not covered and areas where the wax was pinched on.  It's my opinion that these weren't intended for display and were created purely for the love of art.  

Edgar Degas, Dancer Ready to Dance, the Right Foot Forward

Some of his sculptures are more polished and finished than others, like the sculpture of Dancer Ready to Dance.  However, they all have a sense of movement, implied or inherent to the piece.

Edgar Degas, Dancers in Pink

When Degas created Dancers in Pink, he had been working in pastels for twenty years.  They are caught in a moment of motion on the stage.  Pierre-Auguste Renoir included this piece in the background of a portrait of the owner's daughters.

Edgar Degas, Dancer Adjusting Her Shoulder Strap & Arabesque Over the Right Leg, Left Arm in Line & Arabesque Over the Right Leg, Right Hand Near the Ground

The Arabesque sculptures and Dancer Adjusting Her Shoulder Strap sculptures captured moments in time.   His sculptures tended to be small, but they had a huge impact.  Looking at them, I feel like I could almost be there in that moment.

This concludes part one of my two part series inspired by the talk I attended, I hope you enjoyed it!

Also, please stop by and comment here to enter to win a free print of my art!

I'm a little late, but I am linking this with Inspire Me Monday and Magical Monday.


ann @ studiohyde said...

Loved this post. So nice to see the sculptures and I think it is wonderful that they have been cast from the original. It must have been so good to actually see them in person.

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful post ~ so informative and your photos are fantastic ~ enjoy the day and thanks for linking up to Magical Monday ~~ thanks,namaste, (A Creative Harbor)

joanne said...

I had no idea Degas sculpted such intriguing subject matter.....thanx for the enlightening commentary and pics....

Theresa said...

Thanks for your visit@ DearCreatives.com I love Degas & wish I could visit the city more to go to Museums. Your Magnolia painting is wonderful. I enjoyed my visit. I started my new art website but won't be posting until back. (my portfolio site / journal)-TheresaHuse.com Have a great rest of your summer & hope to see you again.

Magic Love Crow said...

Amazing sculptures, amazing art! So beautiful! Have a great day!

Mary said...

Nice visit...good theme in your selection. I love art museums.

Unknown said...

My mom has the Edgar Degas, Dancer Ready to Dance, the Right Foot Forward statute! (Obviously a copy)

I love Degas. I am your newest follower!


Kristin Aquariann said...

Nice summary of his work! I wish there was a museum closer to me where I could attend such fascinating talks.

Lisabella Russo said...

Thanks so very much! I've had memberships to LACMA and the Norton Simon for a while, but I've only fairly recently been taking advantage of their talks. Usually the timing is off for me, but sometimes it works out and I've really enjoyed them. I'm also glad to be able to post about them when I have the opportunity and I appreciate your kind words!

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