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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is committed to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. A permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art on a riverfront campus offers more than 95,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

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#38 Edgar Degas: Scene with Ballerinas



Edgar Degas (French, 1834 – 1917), Scene with Ballerinas, 1890 – 95, charcoal and pastel on paper, 15 x 20 ½ in., Bequest of Ruth P. Phillips, AG.2005.5.1.

Born Hilaire Germain Edgar De Ga, who at the suggestion of his father signed his name as “De Gas”, studied at the Lycee Louis-le-Grand and briefly at law school but was most interested in becoming an artist.  In 1853 he began to copy at the Louvre and shortly thereafter entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

In Scene with Ballerinas, Degas used charcoal for most of the composition.  There are hints of blue pastel throughout the group of four ballerinas, which appear to surround the central figure.  The focal point of the drawing is the standing ballerina, who is dressed in a flowing skirt, with cap sleeves and a u-shaped neckline.  The faint structure sketched behind the ballerinas appears to be a rocky landscape with ruins that are not well defined.

“The Degas print is my favorite because I like ballerinas” – Alana, age 3 1/2

Keep an eye out every week for more visitor favorites.  We will be highlighting each of the top fifty pieces during our 50th Anniversary year.  If you want a more intimate encounter, stop by the museum and see these masterpieces for yourself!

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