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Edgar Degas (1843-1917)


In addition to his wonderful pastels and sculptures of the human body, Degas painted wonderful impressionistic pastels of horses and jockeys which capture all the tension of a race or the start of a race.

The wonderful picture "Jockeys Sous La Pluie" (Jockeys in the rain) can be viewed at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. It is executed in pastels and shows jockeys gathering at the start of a race in the rain. Degas has captured the tension and excitement at the start of the race. Degas was fascinated by movement and here he adds a shower of rain to an already restless image. Degas uses pastel and depicts the rain in long, fine, strokes of blue. The diagonal lines of these marks are echoed in the hatched strokes he uses to describe the grass and rain-filled sky. Indeed, Degas' use of weather and technique seem to perfectly match the twitching movements of the horses as they wait for the race to begin.