DEGAS, Edgar
(b. 1834, Paris, d. 1917, Paris)

Gentlemen's Race. Before the Start

Oil on canvas, 49 x 62 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Degas's paintings used a restless patterning of colour patches and combined a precision rendering of positions with sketchy brushwork - especially for the background, where smoking factory chimneys or a glimpse of a railway train suggested the proximity of a modern city. Degas cropped his figures brusquely as if to emphasize that the picture could convey no more than a spatial and temporal section of a larger scene and continuing motion.