Drawing Inspiration: Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Pastel drawing of two harlequins
Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Two Harlequins, c.1885. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Two Harlequins, c.1885

Here Degas depicts two brilliantly costumed performers wearing colourful diamond-patterned leotards, black masks and dark caps. They are shown having a conversation, one seated while the other bends forward towards him. Dancers and performers spend long hours living and working in each other’s company, and the easy gestures and poses of these harlequins suggest that they are comfortable and familiar with each other. Degas used pastels to depict the colourful pattern of the costumes as these performers relax in their dressing room or rehearsal space.

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