Going to Norton Simon Museum for the firs time was a wonderful experience for me. I was so amazed by collection that this museum owns, so many great artworks. For this assignment I've decided to pick a painting of my favorite artist Edgar Degas and compare is to another very interesting painter Henry Toulouse-Lautrec. First painting that I will going to analyze in next couple of paragraphs was painting done by Edgar Degas. The title of this masterpiece is "Dancers in the Wings and it was done in 1880. Degas used a different variety of media, however to create this piece he had used Pastel and tempera on paper.
Work was mounted to the paperboard. By using pastels as a medium he was successful in achieving luminous colors and diaphanous textures. By making very fine texture and using brilliant, expressive clear colors he achieved this, sheer transparent look. Degas used fast, noticeable strokes of color in some parts of his painting, contrasted by non-detailed sketches in others. This piece, like many other Degas works which depicted ballerinas, exemplifies method of arranging figures asymmetrically. None of the dancers were neatly positioned in the center of the floor.
Rather, they are portrayed in their natural state of being, usually in the progress of moving. In this painting ballerina that stands in the front of us is partially blocking another one in the back, while the one in the front is also half way vertically cut off by the picture frame. Approximate dimensions of this piece is 27 x 19 inches. Degas was best known as an Impressionist. He initially called himself "realists," which pointed to their interest in drawing inspiration from their own environments and experiences.
Within his lifetime, as today, Degas was most celebrated as the painter of one subject: the ballet. Degas was not fascinated as were others by the influence of natural light and did most of his work within his studio. Degas observed ballet dancers at work. Specifically, he focused on their gestures and poses as they practiced, waited, primped, and stretched in the rehearsal room. Second painting I've chosen was done by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and it wears a title "At the Circus Fernando, Rider on a White Horse." This art work was created in 1887, and it was created on a paperboard using pastel and drained oil. His brilliant use of color and somewhat distorted figures fit perfectly with the environs of the circus.
In this painting Lautrec added green, lavender, red shadows and highlights of yellow onto horse's white coat, and yellow highlights reflect an unseen spotlight. "The pastel medium contributes to the soft focus and iridescent rendering, and the sweeping diagonals reflect the swift movement of the horse." (Norton Simon Museum) Long mobile diagonal black lines that are mostly created in the background of this piece give a sense of a movement, however look and the body of a horsewoman seem motionless, frozen. Reasonable touches of black color define features on the girl performer and the horse. Approximate dimensions of this piece are 23 x 31 inches. Henry Toulouse-Lautrec was one of the leading artists in Post Impressionist movement. He believed that form was the most important aspect of a painting and aimed to develop greater pictorial harmony.
Subject matter in this painting was a scene form a Circus. In his circus drawings Lautrec captured movement, sounds and color. In his paintings he focused attention on horseman or horsewoman etc. "Rider on a White Horse" depicts girl performer sitting sidesaddle as the horse gallops around the ring.
There are many reasons why I decided to choose these two paintings in particular. Most of all I like the visual quality on both paintings. Even though these two artworks depicted similar subject, portraying ballet and circus performers, in the same medium, these two artists belonged to different art movements, which had influenced each other. Picking Degas again was easy; not only that he is my favorite artist, but I was for part of ballet world for a long time and I can relate to his ballet collection of paintings.
It is astonishing how well he had captured ballerinas in their act. Museum experience was great, and will look forward to go visit Norton Simon again.