Violinist and Young Woman, about 1871, Oil and crayon on canvas
Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917
Can you complete this picture? That’s what Degas intended you to do. Although he painted the faces of these two figures with great precision, the bottom of the woman’s dress and the man’s legs appear as simple lines and shapes. By leaving these to our imagination, Degas intentionally draws us into his artwork.
This artist borrowed strategies from the painter Nicolas Poussin. Like, Poussin Champaigne adapted images and ideas from ancient Roman art - here they include a reclining dining couch, a crouching servant, and a three-legged antique table in the foreground. Setting the scene at night, as if on a stage, is another strategy typical of Poussin.