But Degas is about so much more than pirouetting dancers and mythological references.
Degas: A passion for Perfection intends to show us why. The largest UK retrospective to date, celebrating the centenary of Degas' death, will highlight, above all, Degas' stylistic breadth and his technical diversity.
Universally identified as one of the founders of French Impressionism, Edgar Degas was a notable draughtsman, sculptor and painter. Interested in depicting movement, physiological complexity and human isolation in his work, Degas' portraits and sculptures provide insights into his world, they capture a visual experience, a fleeting moment in time. The café, the opera, the racecourse and the dance are all favoured Degas subjects, and the works that are today most associated with the artist.
Edgar Degas (1834–1917), Female Nude Drying her Neck, c.1903, charcoal on tracing paper, 793 x 762 mm, The Provost and Fellows of King’s College, Cambridge (Keynes Collection), © The Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge
In homage to Degas' 'passion for perfection' – Degas is as celebrated today for revisiting and reworking his creative output as for acknowledging his artistic debt to his predecessors – the exhibition will open with a selection of works by the artists he studied and copied. Works by nineteenth-century realist painters Ingres and Delacroix will open the exhibition, while an examination of Degas’s artistic legacy on notable 20th and 21st-century artists will close the exhibition.
Giovanni Boldini, Edgar Degas at a Café Table, 1883 © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
The body of the retrospective will focus on Degas' prolific and technically proficient output. An intimate portrait of Degas laughing in a cafe by his friend Giovanni Boldini promises to be a highlight as does a collection of rarely seen bathing nudes. A selection of Degas' monotypes – drawings in ink on a metal plate – will go far in revealing Paris' seedy nineteenth-century underbelly. The bold charcoal lines in these monotypes contrast dramatically with the softly idealised forms of their feminine subjects.
The Fitzwilliam certainly can’t be accused of lacking ambition with this retrospective. Degas: A Passion for Perfection is set to offer a fresh take on a much loved artist, and will definitely be worth the train down to Cambridge in all its red-leaved, red-bricked Autumnal glory.
|What||‘A Passion for Perfection’, Degas exhibition, Fitzwilliam|
|Where||The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street , Cambridge , CB2 1RB | MAP|
03 Oct 17 – 14 Jan 18, Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 5pm, Sunday 12pm - 5pm
|Website||Please click here for more information|