The prima ballerina shown in Edgar Degas’s pastel has been identified as the Spanish dancer Rosita Mauri, who moved from Catalonia to Paris and gained fame at the Paris Opéra in the late 1870s.
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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.