Edgar Degas's 'Musicians In The Orchestra'

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Edgar Degas’ piece “Musicians in the Orchestra” is an oil on canvas work painted in 1870 at the start of the impressionist art movement in Paris. It is currently on display at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, California alongside many additional impressionist works. In the gallery, Degas’ pieces stand out from the large colorful paintings by Monet and others due to their uncommon feelings and ideas that they instill in the viewer. This particular piece exhibits Degas’ unique realist style by capturing a split moment in time just like a photographer would. The true success of “Musicians in the Orchestra” is the painting's ability to trigger the mind's ear through stimulating the eye. Although this piece was most likely painted…show more content…
It's impossible to look at this piece and not dream about which specific notes are being played at that moment. The atmospheric perspective in the background provides the necessary space for the tune to reverberate and travel indefinitely into the background. This depth alone was not sufficient for Degas as his intention was for the viewer to really hear the number. Omitting all walls in the concert hall, the notes have no boundaries and jump out at the viewer, filling the room they are occupying. Sound travels in all directions. A simple way to realize the protruding melodies is to imagine the same painted lines filling all the empty space around you. In many museums, paintings similar to “Musicians in the Orchestra” often aren't presented with adequate attention most likely due to their smaller size. While this painting only occupies approximately 50x60 centimeters of wall-space, it's emotion engulfs the entirety of the gallery. Simply passing by and gazing at Degas work will not conjure any profound reaction. This style of painting must settle down with the viewer in order for the emotions ease into the onlookers

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