Edgar Degas in a Moment of Dottiness

THE DAILY PIC: At the Carnegie Museum, a painting by Degas seems to have caught the pox.

THE DAILY PIC (#1678): I recently came across this very strange and gorgeous 1895 canvas by Edgar Degas in the permanent collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. It’s easy to imagine that it’s a close-up on some kind of tiny oil sketch, but in fact those weird blue blotches at left must be close to an inch wide. They are like the similar dots in paintings by Édouard Vuillard, but on steroids.

Vuillard’s dots are so much his trademark that I wonder if Degas, his senior, was copying a young talent, or if the youngster had spotted something he liked in the older man’s work, and decided to run with it.

Or maybe Degas’s dots have nothing to do with  style. In a brothel scene, which this most probably is, spots must also stand for disease.

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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