The Easel

20th September 2022

Rodin & Degas: Impressionist sculpture

Both Rodin and Degas were fascinated by dance. Intending all his work for public display, Rodin tried to capture the “emotionalism” of contemporary dancers, such as Nijinsky, in classical sculpture. Degas’ interest was classical ballet – as his paintings attest – and he used his sculptures as private experiments about the figure and the effect of worked surfaces on light. As one critic observes, two different approaches but the same objective – “modern figural expressiveness”.