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This work is done in a realistic genre and meets the basic canons characteristic of this direction. But Edgar Degas is interested in experimenting with the subject of the image. It is no accident that for his work he chooses not an aristocratic lady in rich toilets, but a simple woman who does not have blue blood. The contemporary society of the artist was shocked by the plot he had chosen. But this does not detract from the highest Degas skill and the ability to subtly feel the state of mind of a person.
The picture shows a tired elderly woman. She sat on the threshold of her house. Leaning on the doorway, she looks thoughtfully into the distance, perhaps carefully watching something. The artist very carefully draws the facial features of the heroine of the picture and the smallest details of her clothes. Not a single wrinkle or shadow escapes the viewer's eyes. At the same time, the background of the picture looks conditional enough so that nothing distracts us from contemplating the image of the heroine. The main task of the artist is to create a generalized and not idealized portrait of a Roman beggar.
The painting of the picture, in fact, rests on only four colors and their shades. But it is this technique that gives the work a special graphic and some image rigidity.
The picture tells that the woman’s life is full of hardship. This can be judged not only by well-worn clothing, but also by certain details of the exposure. As if by chance, a broken piece of bread and a clay pot with a chopped handle, in which half-eaten food is visible, are next to the woman.
The portrait has almost photographic realism. Edgar Degas so accurately recreates the image of a woman that creates the feeling of our presence and participation in the recorded events.
Vasnetsov Victor Alenushka