Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jockey by Edgar Degas, c, 1881-1885.

Another of Degas's subjects were Jockeys and horses and always he was experimenting with his composition.  This includes unusual close-ups, positions of the models, and we understand that Degas was influenced by the new medium, photography.

In this painting, this is not the race itself, but the moments before the race. Degas has pushed all the horses and jockeys together and painted a horses neck in the middle which makes the viewer look again to make sure that it is a horses neck since the head is not shown.  And another technique, none of the jockeys is looking in the same direction.  Confusion and uncertainty before the race seems to be the theme.

Jockeys, c. 1881-1885.  Edgar Degas.  Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, New York.


  1. That is an unusual composition. I can see where photography would come in, otherwise it would probably be just one or two horses.

  2. What I am learning is that he was always trying new ideas as he got older. A lesson for me. Thanks, Jo.

  3. Thanks! I'm learning so much by reading your blog!

  4. Thanks, CQ. Will include your "key hole" suggestion soon.

  5. Brilliant. The thought Degas directs into his paintings!

    1. I will be writing some of his quotes that explain some of his art. He suggests drawing over and over again until it is "right," then going on to the painting, then re-working the painting. Thanks for your comment Susan.

  6. Interesting composition. It''s like he actually painted this from a photograph. Yes, I can see the influence of photography as the scene is more natural and less dramatically staged than classical art. I like the use of color as well.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  7. Thanks, Lee. I am learning so much from participating in the Challenge.

  8. I always have loved horses, never felt a thing for the work of a jockey at all ( even though my brother always told me that the jokey is only working for money and does not mean to hurt the horse.).

    However in this picture, their somber look makes one feel for jockey any way.