Degas la petite danseuse de 14 ans

This past weekend ns was in Boston for some cultcha et went to The museum of fine Arts. Amongst several paintings, pastels, and drawings du dancers par Edgar Degas, a bronze casting of his pièce La petit Danseuse du Quatorze année caught mien eye:


This is Degas’s biggest surviving sculpture et the only one he titled et exhibited. The original wax version, a portrait du a young Belgian danseur named Marie fourgon Goethem, was shown at the 1881 Impressionist exhibition in Paris. Thé wax to be tinted to resemble flesh, elle wore a wig ns real hair, and was pull in pink slippers et bodice in addition à a skirt and ribbon similar to those nous this cast. The excessive naturalism ns the work-related offended many viewers, cible the movie critic J.K. Huysmans called it “the only really contemporary attempt that je know in sculpture.”

I’ve seen plenty of representations de ballet dancers in Degas’ job-related over auto years, cible this temps around was different because i had read Julia Wolkoff’s the Sordid truth behind Degas’s Ballet Dancers last year.

Vous lisez ce: Degas la petite danseuse de 14 ans

The formerly upright ballet had actually taken nous the role of unseemly cabaret; in Paris, its success was virtually entirely predicated conditions météorologiques lecherous social contracts. Sex job-related was a part de a ballerina’s reality, et the city’s dénormes opera house, auto Palais Garnier, was designed v this in mind. A luxuriously appointed pièce located behind the stage, called thé foyer de la danse, to be a carré where auto dancers would warmth up before performances. But it additionally served oui a kind de men’s club, where abonnés — well-off male subscribers to the opéra — could conduct business, socialize, et proposition the ballerinas.

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Young members-in-training ns the ballet suppliers were referred to as “petits rats” in reference venir their often impoverished backgrounds. Oui Wolkoff observes du the subject de the sculpture:

Marie van Goethem was thé “petit rat” that posed for the sculpture, et she likely involved in auto sexually predatory economy de the ballet world venir survive. Fourgon Goethem disappeared indigenous the auditeur eye shortly after the pièce was completed; after gift late venir a rehearsal, auto Paris opéra Ballet dismissed her. The teenager probably returned loger to follow in thé footsteps of elle mother — a laundress et likely prostitute — et older sister, who was likewise a sex worker.

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Here’s a Degas peinture, etc of année on-stage exercise from the circuits électoraux at the Met:


What might look at life glance choose a depiction du the beauty of dance takes nous a an ext sinister nature when you notice the masculin on the right side de the painting, possibly a pair ns wealthy subscribers gaining a unique preview du that night’s ballet and their choice ns ballerinas. Elle might never ever look at another of Degas’ ballet paintings the same method again.