Degas, Edgar Still life or portrait

Woman seated by a vase of flowers by Eduard Degas

E. Degas. “Woman seated by a vase of flowers.” (1865)

In his paintings, Edgar Degas attempted to avoid static. His early works, however, based on imitation of the old masters, were reluctantly static.

Interiors that are as detailed as the people who live in them…


Yes, this was the start of Degas’ career.


However, the artist insisted on developing his own style…


And eventually tracked him down.


The work “Woman sitting by a vase of flowers” can be considered one of the artist’s first attempts to show himself.


When we look at the image, we immediately notice that something is wrong with it.


It’s…not at all symmetrical.


This is quite unusual for academic painting!


.. Degas, on the other hand, aspired to be an innovator rather than an academic artist…


But, back to the picture.


A massive bouquet of autumn chrysanthemums takes center stage, while the main character huddles somewhere on the rim…


The woman turned away from not only the table, but also from us, thoughtfully resting her head on her hand.


She is no longer a child. She is dressed formally in a brown suit and a simple cap. Unremarkable physical appearance…


We might not have noticed this lady at all if it hadn’t been for Degas’ masterful manipulation of the image’s various elements, to which he adds the appropriate sound with the use of color.


A cap on a woman’s head, for example…


Its color scheme and light lace trim are reminiscent of flowers in a vase.


Its fringe is so similar to the wavy petals of chrysanthemums!



A diamond set in a woman’s earring draws our attention involuntarily.


How it sparkles and shimmers!


We have no idea what this woman is thinking or feeling…


Autumn flowers, on the other hand, unintentionally evoke sad thoughts.


This woman is bothered by something. And along with it – and you with us…


Edgar Degas had one unique feature. Experimenting with composition, color, and lighting, he appeared to have only one goal: to achieve the desired result, to discover a new pictorial technique, or to subdue the old… Surprisingly accurate psychological portraits, however.


Take, for example, this one.


Degas changed the composition to achieve a different effect, and he was certainly successful.


At the same time, he accomplished something else: he demonstrated the barriers that can be erected between people… thoughtless contemplation.


The alienation of a woman consumed by her unhappy thoughts hurts our hearts as well.


How does one explain an artist’s ability to touch the deepest strings of the human soul?


Is it eye vigilance or special heart sensitivity?


I’m not sure I’m ready to answer…

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