At a time when the great days of romantic ballet were already over, the painter Edgar Degas began his studies at the Parisian “Académie Royale de Danse”.

But the realist he was, he was less concerned with the idealized portrayal of the great stage stars than with a testimony to their daily struggle for perfection, for which they risked their entire happiness.


In doing so, he created an never before seen insight into this world.

In countless sketches and paintings he shows us dancers who torture themselves through their training. He shows their perfect poses as well as their crooked arabesques and failed jumps.

Above all, however, he shows their tired figures, their lives full of forgotten tears and dreams, marked by a short blossom in the limelight and a long forgetting in the dark of time.


He owes the magic of these pictures not least to a technique that he had only recently discovered.

Pastel, also known as the “powder of butterfly wings”, was ideal for capturing his visions of a beauty on canvas that was itself as perfect and short-lived as the butterflies and their dance.


Today’s picture probably shows us a ballett rehearsal. Because the arrangement of the dancers with their open hair and seemingly loose movements seems to be spontaneous and coincidental.

Interesting is the view from the orchestra pit, which conveys the immediacy of the scene as if we were really there.

What we, through the magic of art, are in a magical way.


Here you can see some of his works: Edgar Degas – Works