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Seated Dancer Rubbing Her Leg, c. 1878

Edgar Degas

French, 1834-1917
Charcoal with white and dark brown pastel on gray-brown laid paper
17-5/8 x 12-1/4 in. irreg. (44.8 x 31.1 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

Edgar Degas meticulously studied the movement and positioning of dancers, and he used both drawing and sculpture to perfect his physical understanding of their bodies. In dozens of drawings, the extraordinary draftsman recorded what can be loosely categorized as stock poses, intended for later use in his larger, multi-figured canvases. Although Seated Dancer Rubbing Her Leg explores a theme to which Degas would return again and again, like many of his surviving drawings this particular pose does not seem to have been used in any one painting. Rather, the artist’s frequent consideration of how dancers knelt, bent, stretched or handled their bodies in more private moments served him in more general terms, allowing him to capture with great accuracy the grace of these young ballerinas.

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Object Type: Drawings 35 of 331 Previous Previous | Next Next