Arts Everyday Living: Happy Birthday Degas–Art of the Horse, Best Friends & Companions

Edgar Degas, Horses in a Meadow, 1871, oil on canvas, Chester Dale Fund, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), who would be 189 years old tomorrow, is often considered the artist of the ballet. Yet, he was also inspired by horses, usually depicting them at the race track just  before an event. Often tense and anxious, awaiting the start–mounted by their jockeys who are trying to calm them. Although not always successfully for one occasionally resists control, suddenly rearing upward ready to gallop away with his rider.

However, Degas in Horses in a Meadow, offers us another view of equine life. A quiet moment when two companions share a moment of both rest and affection, temporarily free from the the domination of their masters.

And try googling other scenes at the races by Degas:

The Parade (In Front of the Stands), 1866-1868, Musee D’Orsay, Paris

Racehorses at Longchamps, 1871, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jockeys Before the Race, 1878, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, UK

The Races, 1871-1872, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.



In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the National Gallery of Art participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

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