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Download Hesser speaks about the sculptural study Grand Arabesque, Second Time. (1.5 MB)

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Transitional poses such as this one were constant themes of Edgar Degas’s numerous sculptural studies made in wax, wire, and plastilene. Collected from his studio following his death, these models became the sources of small editions cast in bronze, including this one of a dancer posed in a grand arabesque. In the classic ballet position, the dancer bends forward while standing on one straight leg, with the opposite arm extended forward and the other arm and leg extended backward. In the 1890s the British artist Walter Sickert visited Degas in his studio and was shown the wax model for this figure. He was struck by Degas’s interest in movement, as he “turned the statuette slowly to show me the successive silhouettes thrown on a white sheet by the light of a candle.” ca. 1885-1890

Publication Date



RISD Museum


Providence, Rhode Island


Rhode Island School of Design Museum; dance; ballet



Grand Arabesque, Second Time

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Sculpture Commons



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