Wednesday, March 21, 2012

As a general rule...

I really dislike Degas. What can I say, pastel Ballerinas just don't do it for me. However, mythological/biblical images of women with scarlet ibises really peak my interest. I vaguely remember reading some short story in middle school about a scarlet ibis, and ever since then I've always loved these bizarrely shaped red birds.

I stumbled upon this painting a few weeks ago at work while doing some research and have been fascinated since. It's in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and dates from the early 1860s. Degas made sketches for this painting in Rome between 1857-58. Between 1860-62 he added the ibises. The Met's description mentions that he also added similar birds to his historical painting "Semiramis Building Babylon" around the same time (I don't see the birds, google it and check for yourself. However, be warned- the name is more impressive than the actual painting which leaves MUCH to be desired). 

I love the vague Oriental cityscape in the background...

This painting has singlehandedly reformed my opinion on Degas. 


  1. Hello William:
    Our feelings exactly. All those ballerinas leave us shivering with cold but there is, of course, as you have shown here, rather more to Degas than at first meets the eye. A most interesting post.

  2. Hi William - your dad stopped by my gallery today in Greenville and told me about your blog! I love your aesthetic and completely agree with you on those ballerinas - I will enjoy following you!
    Teresa Roche