Edgar Degas: his life and some of his works

Some of the most important protagonists of our trips are the artists who have left their mark wherever we go. This is the case of Edgar Degas, French painter and sculptor, one of the fathers of Impressionism, who achieved with his originality and his works that his memory endures generation after generation.

Who was Edgar Degas?

This artist was born in 1834 in Paris, the same city where he died in 1917. His gift for painting was reflected at an early age and at the age of 18 he already installed a painting studio in his home. There he would unleash his creativity and all those images that passed through his mind.

His interest and his good work in painting allowed him, at a very young age, to register as an art copyist at the famous Louvre Museum. However, his father and his grandfather decided that Edgar had to study a career that would ensure his future. Not to disappoint you He entered the University of Paris to study law.

However, he never put much effort into his studies. Just two years after starting them, in 1855, Edgar Degas would meet Jean Auguste Dominique Ingreswhich had a great influence on him and on his desire to be an artist, so that same year he entered the School of Fine Arts.

“Draw lines and more lines, young man, taken from reality and memory, so you will become a good artist.”

-Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres-

Degas would no longer stop painting, although throughout his life he would also be interested in sculpture and even photography. In addition, he would manage to gather a small collection of works by great masters of painting, such as Velázquez or El Greco.

Some works of Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas’ artistic career was basically focused on portraits and nudes, some of which set a precedent in painting at the time. These are some of his most recognized works.

Edmondo and Therese Morbili

It is a portrait of Edgar’s sister and her husband. The artist did not like his brother-in-law very much, and he showed it by painting his figure with rancor, which is perceived in the aggressive lines of his expression and his gaze. Apparently, Thérèse was his favorite sister, and this marriage was arranged by a papal bull that was not at all to Edgar’s liking.

Therese was the main model in many of the painter’s paintings, and that ‘another’ took her, it seems that he did not like it very much. It is impressive how the difference between both members of the couple, and the artist’s feeling towards her brother-in-law is capable of being masterfully reflected in the painting.

Bather drying off

Edgar was a fan of nude bathers and painted several throughout his life. In none of them is the face of the models seen, perhaps trying to harmonize the intimacy of the act with the modesty that should have existed at the time towards nudes.

In this painting, Edgar achieves this in a very sublime way, as the model elegantly covers her face while drying one of her armpits. The mixture of colors and the technique of this painting leave no doubt about the artist’s gift.


For a few years, Edgar focused on intimate nude scenes of women, but decided to turn his work around. A) Yes, began to capture the hard work that some did. ironers It crudely shows the exhaustion of these women and the poverty of the lower classes.

This work shows the desire of a woman to remove wrinkles from a garment while another takes a break. A work of simple composition that stands out for the use of color. The theme of the ironers is the protagonist of another of Degas’ famous series, along with the dancers and the nudes.

The works of this impressive French painter are exhibited in the best museums in the world, such as the Louvre, the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum and many others. Just choose the place you want to go on your next vacation and don’t miss out on seeing some of his most famous paintings. It will be worth it!

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