I finally managed to attend the very interesting exhibition of prints, drawings and paintings by Degas at the Fitzwilliam Museum yesterday. It was the last day so I just squeaked in. It included his iconic sculpture “Little Dancer aged 14”.
A number of aspects of his work interested my. His relationship with the human form for example. His ‘Keyhole’ approach to drawing the human figure. He said to Walter Sickert,that he wished to depict the femle nude as if he had seen her through a keyhole, presumably meaning unposed- without the self consciousness bought about by the gaze of another person- the artist.
Another part of Degas’ work that intrigued me was his use of a variety of techniques including monotype (monoprinting), underpainting (painting an image in monochrome colour identifying shapes and tone before applying colour) and counter proofing (pressing a damp piece of paper against a drawing or freshly pulled print to create a reverse print which he then worked on)
Degas artistic contemporaries were also presented including his friend Walter Sicket with his painting Mornington Crescent, 1907, on display.