About this artwork

Degas chose to depict his good friend Diego Martelli from above in this portrait of 1879. The unconventional viewpoint seems to emphasise Martelli's bulky size, especially as he is balanced precariously on a wooden stool. The objects on the table probably belonged to the Florentine art critic who was a supporter of a group of Italian artists known as the Macchiaioli, some of whom were influenced by Impressionism. Degas often included objects in his portraits which express something about the sitter's life. The lower part of a multi-coloured circular map of Paris is visible on the back wall. A slight pencil sketch of Martelli is in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    Edgar DegasFrench (1834 - 1917)
  • title:
    Diego Martelli (1839 - 1896)
  • date created:
    1879
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    110.40 x 99.80 cm; Framed: 134.60 x 124.50 x 8.60 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1932
  • accession number:
    NG 1785
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
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Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas