Degas: A Passion for Perfection

Degas at Art Museum

Edgar Degas is one of the most fascinating artists of the mid-1800s and early 1900s. Known for his near obsession when it came to repetition of his various subjects, he ended up developing techniques that were new to the art world. You can see some of his best works at the Denver Art Museum through May 20. The museum is showing “Degas: A Passion for Perfection,” and it will have more than 100 paintings, pastels, sculptures, drawings, monotypes, and etchings on display. The works will include Degas’ favorite themes, such as dance and horses.

The Beginnings

Degas educated himself by copying paintings at the Louvre. This allowed him to hone his skills as a painter. He immersed himself in historical paintings and likely could have made a career out of it. However, he started to become more interested in contemporary life and wanted to showcase that with his paintings. That’s when he developed the style he is known for.

The Anti-Impressionist

Many people wrongly define Degas as an impressionist, a movement that largely sprung from realism. Like realism, impressionism focuses on the world that surrounds the artist, but impressionists use dazzling colors. The idea is to include a sense of immediacy into the scenes, something that Degas never did. He appeared to be almost offended when referred to as an impressionist, and he always referred to himself as a realist.

That can be seen in his countless works that depict real life. As he aged, he lost all interest in historical paintings and wanted to show life as it is. From painting women as they worked to showing dancers backstage during rehearsals, his works gave people an intimate glimpse at the world around them.

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Seeing the Exhibit

As you can see, there is a lot to Edgar Degas. You want to understand the art you’re seeing, and the museum makes it easy. You will receive an audio guide when you arrive and can choose between the guide for adults or the guide for families. Be sure to go with the guide for families if you have kids with you. That way, everyone can learn while looking around the exhibit.

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