of Dancers c1893/98
was familiar with the work of Eadweard
Muybridge (type Muybridge for Artiste in database). Degas studied
Muybridge's precinematic study of movement through serial time-based
photographs of horses and humans in motion.
frieze borrows from antiquity and modernity.
Ancient Greek and Roman friezes often describe a narrative
through space. Although
this picture has no clear "narrative" it uses the "frieze
template" of antiquity to define itself as a study of motion
through time. It borrows from modernity (Muybridge)
since it is very much like a series
"frozen moments in time" --showing different perspectives
of what seems to be the same ballerina bending over to tie her shoes.
himself took pictures of the motion of ballerinas to better understand
the way they moved.
drying herself c1896-98
bather drying herself is very similar to a photograph taken by Degas
of a model in this pose--found at his studio after his death. Whether the photograph inspired this piece or whether the
photograph was used to study the specific pose (it would be quite
difficult for a model to be in that specific contorted position
for a very long time)--is still not known.
In any case, photography was used to study these particularly
difficult instances of motion.
The photograph may have also enhanced his striking use of
value shifts in the painting.
This work may, in addition, have
been influenced by Japanese artists.
at the Races c1877-80
this study of jockeys on their horses, Degas borrows from Muybridge's
study of horse motion.
Degas uses the theme of horse motion, he contextualizes the scientific
study of motion by composing a picture about a common leisure practice
of the time: horse racing. The movement of the horse in the background shows the influence
of the Muybridge series--the precise positioning of the animal's legs
as he gallops on.
uses his understanding of motion and brings it into the space
of leisure/entertainment for
the bourgeois Parisians of the time. Degas, did
a whole series of studies of
horses and jockeys at the racetrack.