Edgar Degas was a French artist that painted realism and a lot of dancers, specifically ballerina dancers. He found them to be beautiful to draw, for their grace both on and off stage. He was born in July year 1834 and died in September 1917. Degas was known as an impressionist painter, for using colour and lights in a special way. But lots of his works are more in the genre realism with the way he worked with shadows. (Edgar-degas.net, 2010)
This painting was painted in 1874, there are 3 versions of the painting.
It represents the art style impressionism but also not, for the way he is using different lights and atmospherically values to get a rich painting but he was not using colour that usually impressionism drawings do. (Konstlistan, 2013). The audience took the painting well, admiring the grace he could put in his drawings. An Author named Francesco Salvi was intrigued by the painting, saying that Degas captured movements of the ballerinas that was new, like some of them yawning or stretching instead of only dancing.
Showing them to be human. (Edgar-degas.net, 2010)
The image shows ballet dancers on stage, some dancing or stretching while others are yawning and relaxing. This shows that they are rehearsing for a show, even if you remove the name of the painting you get that it is a rehearsal for the first row is empty and that they are Ulrika Nilsson not dancing. The meaning of the image is to show that dancers are human too, they do other things than just dance.
Could also mean to show that they are working hard which makes them tired, hence some yawning and sitting down. There sits a man in the picture who looks at the girls, he could represent the teacher to make them work hard. No one is looking at him, almost making it look like they are avoiding him.
The colours in the painting are dull and almost non-existent, which makes the image more haunting and tiering. This could be an indication that they are tired, so their environment becomes like they are feeling. An index of the painting is the girls that are yawning or sitting down for being tired, showing that something happened which made them tired. Probably for dancing a lot. The girl yawning looks like she is getting strangled or choked, it could be a metaphor for being choked with work and practice. Not being able to relax, which gives a feeling of being choked and not being able breathe. An icon in the painting is the ballerinas, you know what a ballerina is because they are neutral and don’t hold a symbolic meaning. (Tidlund, 2018)