If you are in London this autumn, you should plan a visit to Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement currently on display at the Royal Academy. This wonderful exhibition, curated by Richard Kendall, Jill DeVonyar and Ann Dumas, focuses on the Impressionist painter and sculptor Edgar Degas’s interest in movement and his dedication to classical ballet and dancers throughout his career.
The exhibition opens with some of Degas’s most famous masterpieces including “Two Dancers on the Stage” (pictured below) and a painting of the “Ballet Scene from Meyerbeerâ€™s Opera Robert le Diable” or the “ballet of the Nuns”, a supernatural scene considered to be a blueprint for the Romantic ballet movement.
Visitors familiar with the choreographer August Bournonville will immediately spot the links between Degas’s ballerinas and Bournonville’s “classroom ballet” Konservatoriet.
Much like Degas, Bournonville’s experience in Paris left a lasting impression. His memories of the dance classroom in those early days inspired his choreography and kept coming up in his ballets long after his return to Denmark.
Before you step into rooms 1 and 2 of the exhibition, we recommend a look at dance writer TobiÂ Tobias’s excellent essay on Konservatoriet and its evocative ballet school scene.
The second room is entirely dedicated to ‘The Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen’ (1880-81), showing Degas’s extensive preparatory studies to achieve a perfect three dimensional likeness of his subject, Marie van Goethem, a dance student at the Paris Opera School.
These sculptures and sketches show us Degas’s complete understanding of the classical dance vocabulary.
During the 1880s Degas became increasingly preoccupied with recording dancers in movement. Observing dancers in action, such as in this early footage of a Tarantella (from Bournonville’s ballet Napoli), he was able to translate movement into small-scale models which he kept privately for his own research.
The exhibition brings together more than 80 works, includingÂ paintings, sketches, sculptures, and photography by Degas as well as examples of dance footage and photos by Etienne-Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge, whose images influenced Degas’s own work.
In 1895, at age 60, Degas bought a camera (see negative on the left) and started to experiment with the medium. At that time, the LumiÃ¨re brothers were also exploring movement on film, capturing performer LoÃ¯e Fuller‘s Serpentine Dance (1896) for posterity (pictured right).
The exhibition ends with Degas’s late drawings and pastels. His sequential, frieze-like compositions are shown as a direct influence and natural progression from his experiments with photography, creating more energetic forms.
Not to be missed, Degas and the Ballet, Picturing Movement runs until 11 December 2011 at the Royal Academy of Arts.
With thanks to the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Academy of Arts.
Bournonville’s Konservatoriet – Â© Costin Radu / RDB
Exhibition Photos: Â© The Ballet Bag
graceful, awkward, real | Trust Yourself
[...] http://www.Edgar-Degas.org Images from Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement and a review from The Ballet Bag. Wikipedia provided the following: Â Â Â Â Â The following photographs are [...]
Ariel Moss (@arielcmoss)
http://t.co/Tisz2PDC ~ Ainda terei vÃ¡rios quadros dele espalhados pela minha casa. <3
O ballet ontem e hoje « Dos passos da bailarina
[...] Em setembro, houve uma exposiÃ§Ã£o de Degas no Royal Academy, a Degas and the Ballet: Exploring Music. Quem quiser saber mais, leia o post do The Ballet Bag sobre a exposiÃ§Ã£o, aqui. [...]
Birmingham R Ballet (@BRB) (@BRB)
Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement (@theballetbag) http://t.co/tJa613o8 Still stunning exercises with sketches, paintings, photos.
Balletco (@Balletco) (@Balletco)
Just catching up: .@theballetbag at the Royal Academy Degas and the Ballet exhibition – great pictures of great work: http://t.co/lsTbIecR
Benny Cheung (@bennycheung)
Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement – exhibition at Royal Academy. Must visit. Anyone? http://t.co/FjJqYwfz
Francisco Gella (@NuevoDance) (@NuevoDance)
Degas and the #Ballet: Picturing Movement http://t.co/VurC7e7U
The Ballet Bag (@theballetbag) (@theballetbag)
Don’t miss our new #photoblog on Degas meets Bournonville –> http://t.co/c14Uhzmp #ballet #RADegas
Great wrap up – good post! Loved the read… and Degas!
Thanks for this post. I love Degas!
artifactsuite (@artifactsuite) (@artifactsuite)
Wonderful… I will visit next month! RT @theballetbag On the Degas exhibition, our new photoblog http://t.co/LOOUvCmI
Dance Ink (@dancehelper)
Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement http://t.co/rcqAI8me a must see exhibition 17/9 â€“ 11/14/11 Royal Academy of Arts Piccadilly London
Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement « Keeping Times
[...] Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]
Sheri Leblanc (@Sheri_ls) (@Sheri_ls)
If you’re in London, be sure to see Degas exhibition "Picturing Movement @royalacademy http://t.co/g1dlQIts via @theballetbag
The Ballet Bag (@theballetbag) (@theballetbag) (@theballetbag) (@theballetbag)
New photoblog in the bag: Degas exhibition @royalacademy & the Bournonville link -> http://t.co/c14Uhzmp #ballet
CA Riverside Ballet (@CRBalletIE)
Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement http://t.co/G43NSSux