french ballets


Ballet Evolved: At the Court of Louis XIV; part of the Royal Opera House’s exploration of the history and development of ballet.

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
“Dance Class at the Opera” (1872)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Reaching for the ballet shoe (1910). Pierre Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1851-1932). Pastel on canvas.

Carrier-Belleuse studied at the l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under Alexandre Cabanel and Pierre Victor Galland. The influence of their soft palates and classical style can be seen in this work. He flourished in his depictions of ballerinas, where his favoured medium of pastel allowed him to capture the movement of their dance.

The Star (c.1876-1878). Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917). Pastel over ink monotype on laid paper. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In The Star, the base image was created on a metal plate with printer’s ink worked with brushes, rags, and perhaps the artist’s fingers; the plate was then run through a printing press to offset the image onto a dampened sheet of paper. Degas worked up the resultant impression with layers of pastel, altering the monochromatic inky image through the addition of rich veils and accents of brilliant chalky color.