Degas is primarily known for his work in painting ballerinas. Yet, the artist still was able to create a wide array of paintings in different styles of ballet to keep his audience interested. The painting, Blue Dancers, belongs to 1 of over 200 oil on canvas paintings Edgar Degas has created. Ballerina are one of the artist's favourite subject, as they showcase an element of the artist's character in his love for the allure of the rhythmic dance. The Blue Dancers are one of the only paintings by Degas where the artist opted for cool tones in order to depict the women. While Degas felt that his artwork captured a moment in time, it is believed that his lust towards ballet was based on the natural movement of the human body, and even paintings could still capture its beautiful form. While Degas has painted ballerinas throughout most of his career, Blue Dancers was painted towards the end.
The stunning piece of work illustrates four ballerinas in lavender-blue dancing among one another in a recital. Each figure curves their body in their own way turning their face from one another as they focus on their dance. The top right figure curves her arms towards her as she looks to her left slightly analyzing her partner. Her partner stands out from the other ballerina as she is the only blonde upon the group of brunettes. Her left hand is extended towards the heavens while her right arm is folded as the palm of her hand rests upon her heart.
The third ballerina holds her arms folded onto her shoulders as she extends her head and looks towards the ground. Alongside, the final ballerina bends with her face towards the ground as her body is cut out of the frame. All four ballerinas are drenched in deep blue lavender dresses as they stand around one another. Yet, even while the painting does not show case the exact movement of the women, the viewer is able to tell their actions are in harmony based on the brief glimpse of their frozen bodies. Similar soft styles to this artwork are evident within famous French artist Claude Monet.
Even while the figures are still, the artist held the gift to still be able to showcase them in a natural form in sync with one another, creating a work of art through their body. The ruffles of their dress fall off their shoulders exposing their bare skin, a characteristic Degas loves to include within his work as evident within his other painting Group of Dancers. Degas uses a Baroque style of painting to showcase the ruffles of the dresses and the background of the painting. The artist simply masses the figures together as the shades blend into each other. The bold colours differ from one another yet still manage to unify the painting as glimpses of blue are found throughout the piece. The background of the artwork is based on hues of orange and green, as if the painting was set outside. Small touches of blue are used to bring in the background to the colour scheme of the ballerina's costumes.
Colour is the essential element of the artwork as the bright shades grasp the viewer's attention. While the colours remain incredibly bold, the artist uses a dark grey to contour the backs of the ballerinas to add depth to the painting rather than bold figures. This shading allows for the viewer to witness the light source coming from the top of the painting, as if an actual sun is shining onto the skin of the young women. Edgar Degas was successful in using a cooler toned blue and lavender to portray his most desired muse, ballerinas.