Why Did Edgar Degas Paint the Ballet Class?


Edgar Degas was an artist who was renowned for his paintings of dancers. His artworks were often celebrated for the realism of the scenes and figures he depicted.

One of the most famous of his works is ‘The Ballet Class’, which shows a group of young women practicing a ballet performance in a studio. This painting has become iconic in the world of art, and many people wonder why Degas chose this particular subject matter.

Degas was passionate about capturing life as it was happening. He used to spend time in ballet studios and theatres, where he would observe the dancers and sketch them in action.

He was especially interested in the grace and beauty of their movements, something which he wanted to capture on canvas. He felt that painting these moments captured something that could not be seen with the naked eye, and this is why he chose to paint this particular scene.

The painting also speaks to Degas’s admiration for ballet itself. He thought that it was an art form that expressed emotion through movement, something which could not be done with words or other forms of visual art. He wanted to capture this emotion in his paintings, so he used his skill as an artist to bring out the beauty and power of ballet.

The painting also speaks to Degas’s own personal history with dance. As a child, he had studied ballet himself before turning his full attention to painting.

This gave him an intimate understanding of how ballet works, allowing him to portray it accurately on canvas.


Edgar Degas painted ‘The Ballet Class’ because he wanted to capture the beauty and grace of ballet on canvas. He also had a personal connection with dance, having studied it as a child himself; this allowed him to bring out its full potential when painting it. Ultimately, this painting has become one of his most iconic works due to its realistic portrayal of performers at work.