The Ballet Class
This painting depicts dancers at the end of a lesson in the Foyer de la Danse of the Paris opera house Palais Garnier under ballet master Jules Perrot. Perrot was a dancer and choreographer who later became Ballet Master of the Imperial Ballet in St.Petersburg, Russia. He created some of the most famous ballets of the 19th century including La Esmeralda and Giselle. Perrot and Degas were friends, and Degas often painted the dance classes in the Paris Opera.
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Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Edgar Degas is known for his contribution to Impressionism with his depictions of modern Parisian life—in theaters, cafés, and, most iconically, ballet studios. Degas always painted indoors, preferring to work in his studio, either from memory, photographs, or with live models. Degas was born in Paris, France in a wealthy family and was the oldest of five children. He believed that "the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown", and had an outwardly uneventful life. In company he was known for his wit, which could often be cruel.