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.