Victoria L. Meyers

Edgar Degas’s Dancers in the Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass (ca. 1882–85 oil on canvas). Havemeyer Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In this image, Degas has used strongly contrasted the white tutu against the dark brown wood panel of the wall. This glimpse, through Degas’s eyes, of a ballet rehersal – a world that is usually only available to view in its final perfected state, with a ticket, is intriguing and real. The painting tells a story and one needs to study the several areas of activity to determine where one is in relation to the ballerinas. The viewer is placed in the unusual vantage point of what seems like a hallway. We see a double bass in the lower left hand corner; a ballerina seated gracefully bending to adjust her slipper; a dancer with her back to us looking down at her feet; a dancer at the…

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