Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

Grande Arabesque, Third Time (First Arabesque Penchée) (About 1882 - 1895)

About this artwork

Degas frequently observed the dancers of the Paris Opéra, and was fascinated by their grace and discipline. In this sculpture, Degas showes a dancer practising the ‘arabesque penchée’, a position that requires tremendous control. The dancer must stay steady on one foot while raising the other leg as high and as straight as possible. Degas made the original wax model of this figure between 1882 and 1895. Following Degas’s death, Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard made bronze casts of the figure, and designated each one a letter of the alphabet between A and T. This cast is inscribed ‘G’, and the number sixteen is incised above the letter. This number refers to the subject matter; all the casts Hébrard made of Degas’s models of dancers were numbered 1 to 37.

  • title: Grande Arabesque, Third Time (First Arabesque Penchée)
  • accession number: NG 2285
  • artist: Hilaire-Germain-Edgar DegasFrench (1834 - 1917)
  • gallery: On Loan
  • object type: Sculpture
  • subject: Performing Arts
  • medium: Bronze
  • date created: About 1882 - 1895
  • measurements: Height: 40.30 cm
  • credit line: Sir Alexander Maitland Bequest 1965
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

Degas's celebrated paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture focus on aspects of Parisian modern life, including the racecourse and the ballet. His studies at the École des Beaux-Arts encouraged his interest in the human figure which remained central to his art. He travelled to Italy, where he had relatives, and where he continued to study the art of the past. The family portraits he painted there, however, also reflect his interest in capturing momentary appearances and unusual viewpoints. This he shared with the Impressionists, whom he met through Edouard Manet, on his return to Paris. Degas contributed to seven of the eight Impressionist group exhibitions.