Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty (Kids)

*Heads of a Man and a Woman (Homme et femme, en buste)*

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. Heads of a Man and a Woman (Homme et femme, en buste). 1877–80 6001

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). Heads of a Man and a Woman (Homme et femme, en buste). c. 1877–80. Monotype on paper. Plate: 2 13/16 × 3 3/16″ (7.2 × 8.1 cm). British Museum, London. Bequeathed by Campbell Dodgson. © The Trustees of the British Museum/Art Resource, NY

Narrator: Degas loved exploring the city. He lived in Paris, the capital of France, around 150 years ago. Here again is curator Jodi Hauptman.

Jodi Hauptman: He was fascinated by the city of Paris. And Paris was changing during the time he lived in it. He was always looking for ways ... to capture what it felt like to live in the city.

Narrator: As the city got bigger and more crowded, Degas saw something new happening around him. It’s something you can still see in big cities today everyone was in a hurry!

How do you draw someone in a hurry? This image of a man and a woman is the smallest in this room. As you look at this work, imagine you’re hurrying down a sidewalk in the city and two people pass by you. You only see them for a split second.

Now imagine how you would draw that.

Let’s look more closely at how he smears the ink in this monotype.

And blurs it?

And smudges it?

Those smears, blurs, and smudges help us imagine movement – all the hustle and bustle, the people rushing down the street or speeding by in carriages. With that messy, slippery ink, Degas could draw quickly – fast enough to keep up with the modern city.

To see how Degas explored other experiences of the city, press six-zero-zero-two on your keypad, and then press the search button. That’s the one that looks like a magnifying glass. (WAND ALT …city, press the green play button).

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