Arthub Logo
Medium Well Done: 7 Pastels
Artists have long used chalks and similar solid media for drawing, but lacking any form of binding medium their only adherence to a ground is mechanical. They were thus only used for ephemeral work such as studies and cartoons used in the production of more permanent works. Leonardo da... Read more
Degas’ Circle: Mary Cassatt, 1 Early days
The most significant anniversary this year in art history is the centenary of the death of Edgar Degas (1834-1917). In preparation for a series in which I will try to cover his work, I thought it might be useful to look at the art of some of those who... Read more
Degas’ Circle: Mary Cassatt, 2 Painter and print-maker
Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) worked hard to master her print-making techniques during the winter of 1879-80, under the guidance of her mentor and close friend Edgar Degas (1834–1917). Some of her incentive came from the collaborative project involving Degas, Cassatt, Pissarro, and others to produce a journal of their prints.... Read more
Degas’ Circle: Mary Cassatt, 3 Prints perfected
In April 1880, Edgar Degas withdrew from a major project in which he, Mary Cassatt, Pissarro, and others were to publish a joint print journal. Cassatt was naturally upset by this, and for a while her relationship with Degas cooled. She continued to develop her print-making, but her paintings... Read more
Painting pure colour: a short history of pastels 1
Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt were highly-accomplished painters in (soft) pastels, who were remarkably innovative in their techniques and styles. To help put their pastel paintings into historical context, this article and the next look very briefly at the history of the medium, and some of its greatest exponents.... Read more
Painting pure colour: a short history of pastels 2
In the eighteenth century, pastel became established as a thoroughly acceptable medium, particularly for portraiture. It was acceptable for women, used by most of the major artists, even if more popular for studies and sketches rather than finished works. Pastels also came to influence oil painting, with their rich... Read more
Edgar Degas: A life in twelve paintings
Later this month, we will be remembering the life and work of Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas, who died a century ago. Degas is not my favourite artist of the group known as the French Impressionists, but is one of the most fascinating painters, draughtsmen, and print-makers of the nineteenth... Read more
Edgar Degas: Dancers 1, Form and movement
About half of Edgar Degas’ lifetime output is of drawings and paintings of the ballet and its dancers. This overwhelming obsession with dance did not develop until the late 1870s, but dominated his work through the 1880s and on into some of his last paintings. As I have shown,... Read more
Edgar Degas: Dancers 2, Lessons and rehearsal
Soon after 1870, when Edgar Degas started to paint individual dancers in the ballet of the Paris Opera, he made more complex compositions involving multiple dancers performing different activities. These works often appear to be straightforward paintings of lessons and rehearsals, but in many cases were carefully composed from... Read more
Edgar Degas: Woman bathing
Another of the major themes running through the work of Edgar Degas is that of a woman bathing. Its origins go right back to one of his earliest surviving paintings. Edgar Degas (1834–1917), Candaule’s Wife (c 1855-56), oil on canvas, 29 x 22 cm, Private collection. The Athenaeum. Degas... Read more