Dancers at the Moulin Rouge
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Dancers at the Moulin Rouge 1889
This drawing dates from a trip that Melville made to Paris in 1889 to see the Exposition Universelle, a huge world fair held on the anniversary of the French Revolution. In October 1889, the Moulin Rouge first opened to the public and it was probably then that Melville made this sketch of the dancers. The drawing belongs to a set of several small watercolour sketches that he made of the can-can dancers. They were a popular subject with French artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec. The sketches have a vivid sense of immediacy. Melville captures the whirling petticoats and high-kicking legs of the dancers on stage bathed in brightly coloured lights.

Glossary Open

French Revolution

A series of events that took place in 1791 leading to the end of the 'ancien régime', a complex political and social structure ruled over by an absolute monarch. Prompted by economic crisis and widespread food shortages, the Revolution resulted in the abolition of feudal rights and privileges, the reorganisation of the church, and a constitution that limited the powers of the monarch. These reforms provide the basis for the modern French state.

Watercolour

A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.

French Revolution , Watercolour

Details

  • Acc. No. D 5402
  • Medium Watercolour on paper
  • Size 9.20 x 15.10 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1995