"Because, madame, it is all that is left us of the combined movements of the Greeks."
Today was the last day of Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. While visiting this exhibition I noticed that everyone around was questioning why Degas was so obsessed with capturing movements. In his paintings, represented by the present exhibition, you immediately notice that the artist was not interested in depicting his ballet dancers with anatomical accuracy or in detailed and clear composition, not even in colour palette, but only in creating dynamic movement in his painting.
Frankly speaking I was not impressed by the exhibition. But this display reminded me again of Degas's asymmetry in composition. This asymmetry is fascinating and obviously derives from the influence of Japanese prints and photography, which he was experimenting on as well, and in fact, Degas' experimental photography was the only strength of this exhibition.
I love Degas, and I love him mainly for the fact that he loved capturing rhythms, creating qualities of instantaneity, spontaneity and airiness through the aesthetically beautiful subject matter.
Edgar Degas, 'Ballet Scene from Meyerbeer’s Opera ‘Robert le Diable’', 1876. Oil on canvas, 76.6 x 81.3 cm. Victoria and Albert Museum, London