DANCE ON CANVAS
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Italian painter Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo had a knack for depicting aspects of everyday life. “A Dance in the Country” shows a troupe of performers dancing and playing music. The focus of the piece is on the vibrantly-colored dancers shown in mid-step against a background of viewers dressed in muted tones. You could almost hear the music blaring in the background as a band bangs on horns and strings
The several representations of Isadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan had a profound effect on the painter Abraham Walkowitz. Duncan was a prominent dancer, achieving acclaim throughout Europe. Walkowitz said of Duncan “She had no laws. She did not dance according to the rules. She created. Her body was music. It was a body electric.” While Walkowitz painted subjects other than Isadora Duncan – she was certainly his muse. He uses a gestural style and delicate colors to evoke the groundbreaking, sentural and contravercial flair of this legendary dance pioneer.
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Of all the modern artists, Edgar Degas is perhaps best known for his representation of dancers. Fascinated by the back stage life at the Paris Ballet, he completed his first work in this genre in1866. The ballet became a subject Degas would focus on for the rest of his life, across mediums - painting, drawing and sculpting. To explain his obsession for painting ballerinas, Degas famously told art dealer Ambroise Vollard, “It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.”
When an Italian dancer comes spinning your way, you paint her. At least this is what Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler did when he set his sights upon Giulia Leonardi. By using bold colors and free flowing strokes, Hodler depicts the fluid movements in a time in history when women were usually bound in tight corsets, causing them to move with stiffness. This ecstatic portrait depicts Leonardi “moving with incredible freedom and very earthy movements,” Robyn Asleson, curator, says.
Location: Museum of Art and History in Geneva
When the Russian troupe Ballets Russes was in London for a season, the British artist Dame Laura Knight scored free tickets to the show. There, Knight fell in love with Sergei Diaghilev’s troupe of dancers. Knight painted famed ballerinas like Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, and Tamara Karsavina. “The End of the Dance” shows Pavlova, not in a the midst of dynamic dance movement, but in a pose with with her head bowed andher arms spread like a swan’s wings. The painting calls on depictions of angels in the glow of heavenly light. Location: Tatham Art Gallery