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

Dancer (Large Arabesque)

Bronze, height 41 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Since 1880 Degas experimented with sculpture and he modeled more and more as his eyesight declined, making sculptures of ballerinas and horses. He sculpted in clay, wax and putty. After his death, about 150 small sculptural works were found in his studio. Only half of them were in a state to allow of bronze casts being taken.

For Degas, a dancer was no more than a creature of movement, and he conceived his work as a record of that movement. The Great Arabesque shows an essential classical ballet position, and neatly demonstrates the significance of equilibrium in dance.