Dancer with a Fan


Edgar Degas ( French, 1834 - 1917 )

c. 1879
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General Description

Beginning in 1871, Degas repeatedly depicted the ballerinas of the Paris Opera. Whether solitary or seen in groups, on or offstage, his dancers stretch, pose, perform, and rehearse. Degas strove to break down the movements of his subjects, capturing them frozen in difficult positions, awkward poses, and unguarded moments. Here, a young dancer is caught in a moment of quiet reflection in one of the opera’s classrooms. The unusual viewpoint is typical of Degas’s daring compositions: the figure is set off-center, and the diagonal lines of the floorboards produce a dramatically plunging perspective.