Sunday, July 14, 2019



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

Through Edgar Degas's beloved paintings, drawings, and sculptures, Susan Goldman Rubin conveys the wonder and excitement of the ballet world.

Degas is one of the most celebrated painters of the impressionist movement, and his ballerina paintings are among the most favorite of his fans. In his artwork, Degas captures every moment, from the relentless hours of practice to the glamour of appearing on stage, revealing a dancer’s journey from novice to prima ballerina. Observing young students, Degas drew their poses again and again, determined to achieve perfection. The book includes a brief biography of his entire life, endnotes, bibliography, where to see his paintings, and an index.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:
Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of more than forty-five books for young people, including Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter; The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side; and Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow. A long-time instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, Susan Goldman Rubin lives in Malibu, California.


When I saw this book on the non-fiction 'new book' shelf in the children's section at the local public library I knew I wanted to read it and feature it here on my blog. In this case, you can judge a book by its cover; this cover is exquisite.

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas's career ran from 1852 to 1912. He was born in Paris in 1834 and died there in 1917. He was labeled an 'Impressionist' but preferred to be called a 'Realist'. He created over one thousand dance pictures, which totals more than half of his works.

As the author deftly recounts Edgar Degas's life, journey as an artist, and artwork, I came to appreciate his work even more than I always have. Degas has always been one of my favorite artists, and learning more about his outlook on ballet and his appreciation for the dedication and hard work of the girls and young women who practice this form of dance helped me to see his unique perspective and how he transferred it from his vision to paper.

"Drawing," Degas once said,
"is not what one sees, but what
one can make others see."  {page 40} 

I learned that his mix of art materials is just one of the elements which makes Degas's art unique. On some of the pieces, he used pen and ink, tempera paint, oil paint, watercolor paint, pastels and various combinations of these medium. 

Each layout features one of Degas's paintings, facts about his life, and a sidebar with facts about the featured painting such as its title, circa date, brief description/back story, and materials used. 

Some time is spent on his technique. For instance, he liked to sketch the dancers in action in their ballet studio and in his art studio. He sometimes used colored paper and white pencil and charcoal to create his sketches. An explanation is given about how he  transferred his sketches to canvas by drawing a grid on the sketch and then copying the image grid by grid onto his canvas.

'Degas was a perfectionist.'  {page 23}

 As he aged, his vision became weak. To accommodate for his disability, he wore glasses with tinted lenses, used a magnifying glass to examine his sketches, and used charcoal and black crayon instead of pencil because the bolder lines they made were easier for him to see.

When Degas could not see well enough to paint or draw, he sculpted ballet dancers in various ballet poses using clay and wax. Photos of a few of these sculptures are included in the book. His last dance drawings were done when he was in his late sixties. The subject matter was Russian dancers.

He was almost blind by the end of his life, and he was bedridden for the last year of his life. 

His tombstone reads,  "He loved
drawing very much."  {page 49}

The thorough and interesting back matter of this book includes a formal biography about the life of Degas from birth until death, a Glossary, a list of Ballet Terms, a guide of Where to See Artworks by Edgar Degas, a Bibliography, and a List of Illustrations. 

Highly recommended to learners of all ages who are fans of art history, influential artists, ballet, European history, and art techniques.


⭐⭐⭐ GIVEAWAY ⭐⭐⭐
Clean Young Adult Fantasy Series
by Indie Author Annie Douglass Lima 

Prize package includes a digital edition
of the first 4 books in the 'Annals of Alasia' Series
~Open to US & International Entrants~ 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. I love that quote: "Drawing is not what one sees, but what
    one can make others see." And the description of the multi-media that he used. Sounds like a wonderful dive into art as well as the artist.

  2. This looks wonderful. I'm going to have to see if I can get my hands on it somewhere.

  3. My niece would love this book and her birthday is next week. Perfect timing. Thanks for the recommend.

  4. What a lovely book and what a sad story. I can't imagine how difficult it would be for an artist to lose his sight. Thanks for the review.

  5. I love Degas' work. Great quotes and insight into Degas. So pleased to see his work in a book for students. And, am glad to know there are other titles.



  ~ FRIDAY FICTION FEATURE ~   --  'THE EARL'S LADY GEOLOGIST'  -- AUTHOR ALISSA BAXTER ~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight + Excerp...