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He placed his figures at unusual angles and used odd visual viewpoints.Degas was a fine sculptor and made many clay or wax figurines.These characteristics set Degas apart from the other impressionist painters, even though he took part in all but one of the eight impressionist exhibitions between 18.
Edgar later changed his surname to the less aristocratic sounding 'Degas' in 1870.
Born into a wealthy Franco-Italian family, he was encouraged from an early age to pursue the arts, though not as a long-term career.
While he valued line as a means to describe contours and to lend solid compositional structure to a picture, they favored color, and more concentration on surface texture.
As well, he preferred to work from sketches and memory in the traditional academic manner, while they were more interested in painting outdoors (en plein air).
So this early, breakthrough work is also a reflection on Degas' (relatively limitted) experience in a family setting.
Here, the father is suggested to be emotionally distant from his wife and daughters, while the mother stands dignified and decisive.Whatever the reality may be, his studies and output furthered the exploration of the figure and the portrait in all of the visual arts.Edgar Degas was the eldest of five children of Célestine Musson de Gas, an American by birth, and Auguste de Gas, a banker.Degas had the chance to spend much time with his aunt and her family, but it was not an altogether happy family.The aunt was disappointed in her husband, away from home, and mourning her father's passing.He created it over the course of several trips to Italy, spanning 3-4 years.Each family member — his aunt, her husband and his two young cousins Giovanna and Giuliana — was sketched individually, and then organized into a family portrait, becoming more of a study of individual personalities than a study of them as a group. He bacame known as the master of drawing the human figure in motion.In the 1880's, Degas started to concentrate on intimate scenes, such as women bathing, shopping, or drying or combing their hair.There is a very interesting and puzzling dichotomy in the way Degas approached his female subjects.There is much evidence that he was a misogynist, and also, much to prove that he was enamored with the female form that he attempted to represent it in its most absolute state through hundreds of painstaking studies.