Art 3 – Clothed Figure – Due 10/4


1. Look at the following description of Degas’ life and work:


2. Look at the visual sequence  of recreating a Degas drawing using pastel and abstracted shapes:


3. Here is a video segment on polishing a drawing of a clothed figure using a kneaded eraser and shapes to accent the form:

4. Comment on the three aspects of Degas’ work and life that interest you most and then go to the Achenbach Collection site to search the collections for seated figure. (see link below.)  Find the clothed figure that interests you most and post a link to it and explain why you find it interesting and how you might use some of the style or techniques in your own work.



8 responses »

  1. The three aspects I liked most about Degas:
    1. He depicted everyday activities and people such as ballet dancers. His portraits did not have a deep meaning, which is sometimes very respectable.
    2. The way he went about his portraiture. He drew very basic shapes and essentially shaded those shapes. I like the simplicity.
    3. Color scheme and materials. I like that he experimented with different materials and colors to find what would work best in the portrait.

    I had trouble searching the gallery for a seated figure. The website wasn’t working well (at least on my computer.) My favorite on the page I could see was called Rosita by Raúl Anguiano. It is a painting of a young Hispanic looking woman. I like the portrait because the color and shading is really amazing. I hope I’ll be able to use that kind of shading to make my portraits realistic. The folds on her night gown are amazing and incredibly realistic. I also cannot find a link to the painting but it’s on the website you gave us under “seated figure” category.

    • You make a good point about looking for the basic shapes and shading, creating forms in the figure and folds to make the object more real. It’s good to remember that process when drawing so you can keep your mind on the search for form and enjoy the process.

  2. Three aspects I liked:
    1. A classical drawing education, worked from scuptural drapery models in museums but when it came to portraying his contemporary world, he adapted this style to his generational clothing
    2. He abstracted the Japanese print influences popular in his time by cropping and using asymmetry in unusual vantage points when viewing his subjects, revealing the underlying form and movement of the figures.
    3. When working in charcoal and pastel, he worked in layers, spraying fixative to save some layers from getting muddy, used a soft brush at edges, made washes of crushed pastels to apply with a brush, used cross-hatching strokes to build the layers of color….experimental applications…”used steam from a boiling kettle to diffuse the surface resulting in a pitted surface”.
    I had trouble with the suggested site so I used the Edgar site….I chose pieces that I thought represented what I like about his work: 2 are from the ballet series and the last three are examples from what I imagine his contemporary time period would present that also reveal the aspects I like in his work……,-c.1899.html,-c.1880-85.html,-c.1884.html

  3. What I liked about Degas:
    1) He experimented with different techniques and media. He wasn’t afraid to add more layers and broke up the surface with different textures (like hatching, cross-hatching, combining dry and wet pastels, etc) He was really able to create the perfect atmosphere for each of his artworks: whether it was a hazy, muddy texture or a quick windswept grassy look, he tried different styles and ways of adding texture. One example they gave was “Race Horses”, a pastel on wood drawing where he captures the wind and grass perfectly with quick brushes of pastels against the grain. Here’s a link:

    2) He had a great fascination with the human body, and through over 1,500 works (mostly dancers) he studied their bodily movements and shapes. He also was able to work with different view points and tried to capture their bodies in an un-posed position. I think it was smart of him to draw/paint dancers because they have very flexible bodies with more interesting postures to study.

    3) He changed his point of view and cropped certain artworks to give different focuses or asymmetry. I find composition of a piece very important, because it defines what and where the viewer looks when looking at your piece. So degas’ idea to skip the original “person in the middle of the canvas” stereotype.

    The site was very confusing and wouldn’t load…so i just picked a few that caught my eye, googled them off of the website, and found images and info. I really liked how all these artists captured the line of the figure and the contours of their bodies. They were also able to show great contrast in lights and darks.

  4. 1. I like that the figures aren’t amazing and look perfectly human, they are very good but they seem more like how he sees people and their personalities and habits. He captures people at moments you wouldn’t expect like in the one with a whole bunch of ballerinas, the ones actually dancing are towards the back and the focal point is really one girl in front who’s looking at her shoes or fiddling with her dress. Like in the end, it says, “emphatically not posed.”
    2. I also like how simple this work is; I worry about detail way too much and I need to work on that.
    3. He’s just a really well-rounded artist. He worked in a bunch of different media and was pretty darn good in all of ’em. (Also, love his colors, specially the red.)

    The website was also very crappy for me so I just searched Degas online. (I also am unsure whether the first is his)
    I noticed in a lot of his work, Degas tends to draw the backs of figures or leave their faces without detail and I thought that was really interesting. He really focuses on the form, the shadows and the shading. In the last picture, it’s a nude of a woman standing in a wash basin but bending over it so you can’t really see any part of her but her back and legs. I just love her back in this picture because of the depth int it; I can see the faint bumps of her spine and the shadows around where her hips start are beautiful.

  5. The three aspects of Degas’ work and life that interested me were

    1. The fact that he copied pictures in the Louvre as a child. I remember when I was little, my dad used to take me to art museums so that I could draw the paintings there on my construction paper notebook. It’s interesting that Degas and I have that in common, though while I was just going to local art shows, he was attending the great Louvre.

    2. His modesty and capability for experimentation. I liked that he drew natural poses and casual events, such as ballet dancers, horse races, and Laundromats. I found it funny that his nudes in the bathtub were criticized because their poses were so ungainly and lacked grace. He also used pastel, later in life, which is more fun and quirky and less serious than things like water color and oil. He was far from pretentious. This ties in with his capability for experimentation. The fact that he used kettle steam on his drawings was wild. I’ve never heard of this and would never have thought to do it. That coupled with his crushing of pastels to use as paint showed me that he was incredibly creative in the way he did things. I can respect that.

    3. The influence of Japanese and Italian art on his work. Italian paintings are some of my favorite art of all time, and I love Japanese art as well.

    The last website confused me. I didn’t see any seated figures or, in fact, anything by Degas. Plus, sometimes it just wouldn’t load at all. So I googled Degas, but I still couldn’t find any seated, clothed figures. When I googled “clothed figures,” however, I found a few good examples. I just love the way the artists used highlighting and shading to accentuate the folds in the clothing.

    One was on the website, but I can’t link to it alone because it doesn’t have its own link. The page it’s on is: I searched “seated figure,” and it came up with Rosita by Raul Anguiano.

    Another was

    The last was on, titled Dancer.

    • What a great way to start to participate in a longstanding artistic tradition! I like the details in your comments in regards to the innovations of his style. You found some good examples that all will benefit from viewing.

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