To Each His Own

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Style is expression, presenting oneself to others. Certain characteristics of a piece of art can become associated with a specific artist or style. Edward Degas, a world-renowned artist, has a style all his own. In “What Makes a Degas a Degas,” Richard Muhlberger discusses the various aspects of Degas’ works and what make his art stand out from other pieces. Spontaneity and contrast were two aspects exemplified in some of Degas’ works of art.

One of Degas’ main goals in his art was to create a sense of spontaneity. Degas wanted his paintings to look as though they were painted directly at the scene. In order to achieve this sense of spontaneity, Degas would sometimes use different mediums. For example, in Degas’ painting “Dancers Pink and Green,” Degas wanted the scene to look like a ballet recital immediately before a performance. To create this effect, he used oils instead of pastels. The oils made the painting seem hurried. Another technique of Degas’ was that he outlined the painting with narrow black lines. This made the painting seem more sketched.

Contrast was another concept developed in Degas’ paintings. Degas tried for a distinct difference in colors for some of his paintings. One example of contrast was in a painting entitled “Carriage at the Races,” in which a family sat in a carriage surrounded by horses. In this painting, Degas used darker colors for the horses and carriage and lighter colors for the passengers. This contrast made the painting stand out more, in addition to framing the passengers. Another example of contrast in the painting was an umbrella towards the center. This umbrella was an extremely light color and greatly differed from the surrounding darker hues. Degas may have created this contrast to lead one’s eyes to the center, near the passengers. Contrast was an important part of Degas’ works and could be used to identify several of his paintings.

Edward Degas was an artist with a recognizable style. Degas made his...
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