Degas’s most beautiful works you should know and where to admire them

Classe di danza | Degas


A post dedicated to Degas’s most beautiful works and where to find them.

Degas was basically a solitary artist. He had a difficult character, he was introverted, and his life was completely devoted to art.
He is famous for the dancers he depicted in many paintings, but well-known also for his sculptures.

 Degas’s most beautiful works you should know and where to admire them 


Degas was attracted by colour and his job was to recreate reality. For this reason when we look at his masterpieces we often get the feeling of being in front of a photography of a very particular moment the artist wanted to impress on the canvas.
Here are Degas’s most beautiful works.

The Bellelli family (1858 – 1867)

Edgar Degas | The Bellelli family

Degas, The Bellelli family (1858 – 1867)

This painting is considered a masterpiece of Degas’s youth, on which he worked for years. It’s a work portraying the family of his Italian uncles, who hosted him in Florence in 1858.
On the right sitting on a armchair is Degas’s uncle Gennaro Bellelli, while on the left are his aunt with their daughters Giovanna and Giulia.

  • Where to find it: after Degas’s death the painting was acquired by the Louvre Museum and is now housed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The ballet class (1871 – 1874)Ballerine Degas | Lezione di danza

Degas’s dancers  are very famous and is a subject to which the artist dedicated himself for a long time. He began in the 1870s and continued until his death, in 1917.
The ballet class was painted between 1871 and 1874, and depicts a group of girls attending a lesson.
It’s one of Degas’s most famous works, because it describes spontaneous and natural gestures of a pause during the lesson. However, Degas dedicated to the creation of a painting like this years and dozens of preparatory sketches.

  • Where to find it: the painting is housed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The Absinthe (1877 – 1876)

Degas | absinthe

Degas, The Absinthe (1875-1876)

The Degas Absinthe depicts a man and a woman sitting in a café in Paris.
However, it’s not a particular happy moment, and the two characters seem to ignore each other and look deeply lonely.
The feeling of isolation is highlighted by the fact that the protagonists are placed on the right, while the centre of the painting is empty.

  • Where to find it: the painting is housed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years (1879–1881)ballerina degas

Among Degas’s works to know is certainly a very famous sculpture the artist exhibited at the Sixth Impressionist Exhibition of 1881, the Little Dancer of Fourteen Years.
This sculpture was found in Degas’s studio after his death, in 1917, and it is said that he had rejected all the offers the potential buyers had made to him because this work was like a “daughter” to him.
To know the history of this sculpture, read the post  Degas’s Dancer, where you’ll find also curious facts about the girl who posed for this work.

  • Where to find it: the work in housed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

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