The Easel

The Opera Backstage

Degas liked to watch. A solitary figure, he had a keen eye for the revealing gesture. Dancers were his perfect subject, women from “the lowest classes” looking to parlay fleeting glamour into a higher status life. Degas portrayed the backstage realities obsessively and with “an attentive cruelty”. It aligned with his artist’s ideal – “to separate what we tell ourselves from what is true”.