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The Cover
February 4, 2004

The Convalescent

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(5):527. doi:10.1001/jama.291.5.527

Though Edgar Degas (1834-1917) exhibited in seven of the eight Impressionist shows held in Paris between 1874 and 1886, he saw himself as a Realist painter rather than as an Impressionist. Unlike the Impressionists, he preferred to work indoors, in his studio, rather than en plein air. Moreover, he worked from memory rather than in front of the model, or from numerous sketches previously made. He never abandoned the clear, firm line of his academic years. Trained in the lineage of Ingres, to the end of his life, he considered line important, whereas most of the other Impressionists abandoned line altogether in favor of capturing the fleeting moments of light and color. Perhaps it is factors such as these, plus Degas' own aristocratic background, that allowed him to escape much of the invective heaped upon his colleagues by the critics and public alike, in particular on Monet and Renoir. On the other hand, when it came to his handling of light effects, Degas was a thorough Impressionist. His quick, deft strokes maintained the "you-are-there" spontaneity and intimacy of his paintings.

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