Art History Essay

1439 words - 6 pages

The exhibition Degas: Form, Movement and the Antique at the Tampa Museum of art consist of 47 pieces from the French impressionist’s Edgar Degas life. The exhibition focuses on Degas fascination with motion, and shape and his influences from Greek and Roman art. It consists of oil paintings, charcoal and pastel drawings, and bronze replicas of his works. Most of the pieces are inspired by horses, ballerinas and everyday women. He traditionally used line, color and texture in his paintings to convey the poise and grace of the figures. He also used asymmetry, imbalance and dramatic angles to give the dancers a more naturalistic feeling. In his sculptures he typically used shape and space to simulate movement, and used form to capture the rhythm and beauty of dance. Much of his work is expressive, he utilities bright dramatic colors and quick gestural brush strokes in his artwork to convey the elegance and spontaneity of movement.
The exhibition begins with pieces of Greek and roman art from The Tampa Museum of Art’s personal collection. These are meant to show the influence of Greek and Roman art on Degas and features and vases and statues that compliment Degas work. It the features pieces centering on Degas love of horses and his fascination with their movement. The exhibition then focuses on Degas dancers, which he spent much of his life creating and then focuses on his pieces based of everyday women bathing. The exhibition is laid out beautiful the walls are dark red and white walls which compliment degas works, the statues are in the middle of the museum giving it spacious feeling adding to it the illusion of movement given by the ballerina.
The first statues I saw when I walked into the museum were Rearing Horse, Thoroughbred Horse Walking, and Horse with Jockey. All three of these statues showcase Degas’s ability to express movement through imbalance and asymmetry. In Rearing Horse he uses a dramatic poses to express the dynamic movement of the horse and to capture the horse’s wild and unrestrained nature. In this piece I believe Degas was trying to express a sense of freedom and impulsiveness. In Thoroughbred Horse Walking the statue has an incomplete and spontaneous feeling to it that is almost like a quick drawing. It feels as though Degas is trying to communicate a feeling of defeat and resignation with this piece. In Horse with Jockey Degas is trying to show the connection between a horse and its rider, it is meant to show how they both move as one during a race and the relationship between man and nature.
Both Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot and Dancer Holding Her Right Foot in Her Right Hand are statues of Ballerinas balancing on one leg, cast in bronze. In these pieces Degas manages to capture the poised nature of the dancer’s movements. The pieces themselves have a rough and unfinished quality to them like a sketch or gesture drawing. These pieces show Degas love for sculpting bodies in motion, and by looking at...

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