<p>Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was a French artist who worked in painting, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking. He is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Impressionism, even though he preferred to be called a realist artist. In his early career, Degas focused on historical subjects, but he later turned his attention to more contemporary subjects and images of modern life. Degas’ works often depict the art of dance, horse racing, and the female nude form.</p>
<p>This is Degas's first depiction of a dance class. Because the artist did not yet have privileges to go backstage at the Paris Opera, his subjects came to his studio to pose. These sessions yielded many large study drawings, which Degas subsequently adapted for other compositions. In the late 1870s, he explained, I have painted so many of these dance examinations without having seen them that I am a little ashamed of it.</p>
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