Portrait of Duranty according to Degas

Portrait of Duranty according to Degas
Portrait of Duranty according to Degas

Of the impressionist painter Edgard Degas we are much more accustomed to seeing his paintings full of dynamism with dance and ballet scenes, or his sensual images of female nudes, and even his works based on shows. However, we are not so used to seeing his portraits. Well, here's one, the one made in 1879 by the art critic Louis Edmond Duranty, and which is currently part of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland.


Portrait of Duranty after Degas

Duranty was an important figure in the Paris art world, as he was one of the great theoreticians of the Realism movement, and later became a fervent defender of impressionist art. It is therefore not surprising that he came to establish an intense friendship withEdgard Degas, in which there was no lack of discussions about art, colors, drawing, etc.

The truth is that Degas greatly respected his opinion given his extensive knowledge on these matters, and in fact here he presents him to us as a true sage whom he respects, since thanks to that immense library in the background you can say he knows everything about art.

Those books make the unique background of the image, a background based on very colorful and varied motifs, and geometric shapes following the layout of vertically oriented rectangles that have everythingthose books. It is his private bookstore inside the work office. There we see the character in the foreground, in a pensive attitude, reflecting, as if it were a photograph taken of him at a specific moment. And it is that the frame has a lot of photography, something current and of course nothing official or academic.

And on the other hand, the portraitist's feeling of respect for the sitter is transferred, since he presents him to us at his work table, surrounded by papers that he must have written thanks to the pen and inkwell that we see on the table.

Thisportrait of Durantywork that within Degas's pictorial production is not only unique because of the theme, but also because of his method of work. Here he used gouache, pastel and watercolor techniques at the same time. And with this he builds a scene for us based on very schematic lines. Strokes that are color and matter. For example, books and papers are imprecise rectangles, blurred into each other, glued not only physically but also by their tones. Therefore, we can say that being a theme so foreign to the typical landscapes painted by other of his contemporaries such as Pissarro, Monet or Renoir, this multicolored repertoire is a wonderful essay in impressionist painting.

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