Ballet room at Impressionism in Hermitage

Amsterdam, 2 October 2012

Last weekend, a drawing was replaced at the exhibition Impressionism: Sensation & Inspiration in the Hermitage Amsterdam. A portrait by Édouard Manet (Madame Guillemet, c. 1880) made way for Seated Dancer Adjusting Her Shoes (c. 1880) by Edgar Degas. Degas studied the dancers at the Paris Opera and was uniquely capable of capturing their characteristic poses.

Thanks to this exchange, the exhibition now includes a complete ballet room with two ballerinas, by Degas and Forain. Labels on the wall provide information about the legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and about Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Through speakers, visitors hear Claude Debussy's Impressionist Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, a revolutionary composition that expressed the spirit of its times. This piece of music is based on a literary work, the poem of the same name by Stéphane Mallarmé.

In 1912 Nijinsky choreographed a ballet for the Ballets Russes that was set to this music and became highly controversial. This room is a wonderful illustration of the modern age, artists’ new perspective on the world, and, above all, the new beauty of literature, music, and dance in combination.

Caption: Parvaneh Scharafali, one of the dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater 1, was present at the invitation of the Hermitage to exchange the drawings along with Michail Dedinkin, a curator from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Photos Evert Elzinga

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The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Photo Roy Beusker Fotografie

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