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“Three Dancers at a Dance Class” by Edgar Degas

Queensland Art Gallery - Joy of Museums - "Three Dancers at a Dance Class" by Edgar Degas

“Three Dancers at a Dance Class” by Edgar Degas

“Three Dancers at a Dance Class” by Edgar Degas depicts one of Degas’s favourite themes, dancers captured in casual off-stage poses. The painting’s diagonal composition was influenced by the artist’s interest in Japanese woodcut prints. The bench is part of an overall composition that allows Degas to explore a variety of poses. He has composed a seated figure, a figure with a raised leg, a figure standing. Ballet classes provided Degas with the opportunity to study the human body during periods of rest and focused activity.

Edgar Degas was prolific in paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He was fond of the subject of dance, and more than half of his works depict dancers. Degas is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, preferring to be called a Realist. He was masterly in depicting movement, as can be seen in his various masterpieces of dancers, racecourse subjects and female nudes.

Among the many masterpieces and historical objects in the Queensland Art Gallery, the following are some highlights:

Three Dancers at a Dance Class

  • Title:         Three Dancers at a Dance Class (Trois danseuses à la classe de danse)
  • Artist:       Edgar Degas
  • Dates:      1888–90
  • Materials: Oil on Canvas
  • Museum: Queensland Art Gallery

Edgar Degas

  • Name:         Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas
  • Born:           1834 – Paris, France
  • Died:           1917 (aged 83) – Paris, France
  • Nationality: French
  • Movement: Impressionism
  • Notable works:


    “Art is an illusion of spontaneity.”
    – Japanese Proverb


    Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2)