Friday, March 20, 2009

Slide Projector: L'Etoile

With final exams nearing conclusion, I've decided I'll miss the overload of 19th century art; I took two courses on the subject this term, which allowed for the revisiting of old favorites (like this slide) and the discovery of fascinating new ones (from the Pre-Raphaelites in particular - but that's another post!). I have dim memories of trying to copy a print of L'Etoile in a grade school art class, searching for just the right colors in the slender boxes of broken pastels. I loved the work then as I do now, mostly that costume of gauzy tulle with its dappled adornments of poppy and gold. Studying it in light of its social-historical context somehow heightens its grandeur, juxtaposing such prettiness with the darker realities of the Parisian opera. Degas's is an art of cruel beauty, an art of alighted dancers and top-hatted men, of shadowy solicitations, glaringly present but wonderfully overpowered by the golden stage light and the subtle sheen of satin toe en pointe.

23 comments:

D&L said...

cool site i just started mine so if you no anything i should add to it just let me know music-blogger.blogspot.com thanks

Sophie Appleby said...

Such a beautiful piece and I just adore your analysis of Degas's work. As a literature teacher I find much beauty in the art of studying the social-historical context. Can't wait to see more of these amazing slides.
Sophie x

Amber said...

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Bridget said...

oh...these paintings are my favorite!

dwelling and design said...

love this.

Helen said...

Lovely. Yes, I just found out about Degas's ballerinas ... how I did not know before, I have no idea. It adds so much depth to the paintings -- and a good deal of sadness, which I guess is also depth.

Mariah said...

how beautiful! I, too, have always loved L'Etoile. Degas surely knew how to capture the beauty and movement of a ballerina.

megan and melissa said...

I have always loved Degas's work, especially his work portraying the ballet. Lovely-- can't wait for more!
Melissa
fiddlesticksandfunnygirls.blogspot.com

Georgie K. Buttons said...

I love Degas! And ballet. :)

LBB said...

Your post reminds me of how much I enjoyed the art history course I took while in college. I've always admired Degas's paintings but had no idea of the historical context surrounding them. Looking forward to more of your "slide show"!

Annette said...

Lovely, just lovely. My high-school European History teacher had a big print of L'Etoile on his wall, and I would get lost in it whenever he started to talk about economics or wars. :)

REread said...

ohhh i love Degas ... I love all the art from that time. I remember walking through the Hermitage and just drooling and being awed by seeing them in real life

tj said...

Very sweet!

eve_a_saurus said...

i love your blog!

x

Nevoeiro said...

gostei muito!

Jolie Morgan Musick said...

I love when the ballerina is in such fine detail with the rest a bit distorted. I have this exact piece on a blog of mine from the beginning of this week.

Jolie Morgan Musick said...

Actually, in retrospect, it's not the exact piece. However I presented L'Etoile in a French class a few semesters back.

cookiefleur said...

L'Etoile is my favourite from Degas too! I have a small print of it in my bedroom that I got from d'Orsay last year. It's still wrapped up cos I haven't found the perfect frame for it! Your post reminded me that I its about time I got it framed. =) Heh, thanks!

Kym said...

Ahh...I love this slide...I took Art Appreciation and Art History within the past few years and there were so many pieces that I fell in love with...thanks for sharing!

Indie.Tea said...

Pre-Raphaelites, I envy you. And I love your phrase "cruel beauty", never thought of Degas that way...but you are so correct.
May I add you to my blogroll?

Торговые автоматы said...

Cool

Poems Library said...

very nice

Melissa H. said...

A few summers ago I was in Paris and visited the Musee d'Orsay, I was mesmerized by Degas' Small Ballerina sculpture. I snapped a photo a sketched it when I got home. To this day, it's still one of my favorite drawings! Degas' ability to portray such awkward beauty is amazing.

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