Analysing Art | Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas | The Dance Class

Edgar Degas was a regular frequenter of the Opera of Paris, not only as a spectator but also having backstage access to watch rehearsals. Much thanks to his friendship with Jules Perrot (1810-1892), one of the most respected ballet masters and choreographers of the time – depicted in the painting “The Dance Class”.

A substantial part of Degas’ work focuses on the world of ballet preferring rehearsals and the moments of interlude to stage scenes, depicting the ballerinas in more relaxed or more intimate postures. In this picture, this preference is well present through the postures and individualised expressions of the girls.

In addition to having been a painter, Degas was also very passionate about Photography, having he himself practiced it. The painted scene appears to us as if it were a snapshot, not only by the expressions but also through the way in which the edges of the composition were worked.

Analysing | The Dance Class


Identification and technical data


 Artist: Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Title of the work: La Classe de Dance

Site of production: Paris

Date of production: between 1871 and 1874

Previous locations: 1876, Ch. W. Deschamps Collection, London; from 1876 to 1889, Henri Hill Collection, Brighton; 1889, Hill Collection, London, Christie’s, 25 may, n°27; 1889, Michel Manzi Collection, Paris; from 1894 to 1911, Isaac de Camondo Collection, Paris; 1911: donated to the National Museums and attributed to the Louvre Museum; from 1911 to 1986: the Louvre Museum.

 Current locations: Musée D’Orsay, Paris, since 1986

Technical Data

Dimensions: 85 x 75 cm

Materials: Oil on canvas

General Condition: assumed in very good condition


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