The Ballet Class by Edgar Degas is a painting that stands out to me. I initially picked this artwork because of the obvious relation it has to me with dance. As a child I took many dance classes a week and was accepted into a very competitive ballet trainee program in New York City. Although I loved dance, I turned this opportunity down in order to finish my high school career. I believe that dance itself is a form of art and looking deeper into the painting I became less interested in the painting being of dancers and more interested in the emotion that was displayed. I interviewed my coworker Brian, who mentioned a lot about how the ballerinas emotions stood out to him. He said, “From the girl in the front who seems to be watching or the girl to her left that appears to be in some kind of distress (possibly from a long and grueling class?) to the girls in the background practicing simple moves while the teacher is focused on others.” This also invoked in him how their focus and emotion can motivate him to enjoy his free time activity of going to the gym. In reference to this he said “Sometimes seeing a person put in such an effort at a hobby and excel at the highest levels you want to push yourself a little further in your own endeavors.” This helped me realize how this painting motivates me as I grew up going to dance classes and have recently stopped going.
After my interview with my coworker, I realized that this painting can also show more about the history of the painter. As my coworker told me, “Degas is a very famous painter and this piece probably mattered a lot during the time period it was painted.” This made me think about how the artist must have been intrigued by dancers and I even looked up more paintings created by him which mostly included ballerina paintings. As my arc with this painting went on I felt more connected with the artist and the painting.
This painting shows the time and effort that ballerinas put into their sport. I believe that this is relevant to my life and the community around me because of how it is a good depiction of people putting in hard work. I believe that the emotions this painting shows, the dancers frustrations and possible anxiety, is representative of the hard work that is necessary to be successful in this world. This is meaningful to me because my parents taught me that I have to work hard to achieve well and live happy; this not only applies to work and school but to all other aspects of life. This painting is significant because of how it shows that even artists need to push through their trials to triumph.
Pelliccia, Brian. Personal Interview. 26 March 2018.