Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas 1834 - 1917
Charcoal heightened with white chalk on tracing paper, laid down 539 x 388 mm
Bequeathed by A.S.F. Gow through the National Art Collections Fund, 1978
Collections record: PD.35-1978
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
In his work of the 1880s and 1890s, Degas moved with increasing fluency between painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and photography to explore the possibilities which each of these media brought to the treatment of a single subject. This magnificent drawing, executed around 1898, relates closely to a photographic negative of a dancer holding a screen, probably made three years earlier. The dramatic reverse lighting effects of negative are reproduced in this drawing in the deep shadow cast over the dancer’s face and the boldly-drawn striations of white highlights on her cheek, shoulder and arm.