Degas’ Dancer on Stage

The Star (Dancer on Stage), Edgar Degas, circa 1878
Sandee, from my novella “A Portrait of Happiness and Love,” has her own copy (a copy she painted in high school) of this painting hanging on her wall. On a night when her mind is particularly attuned to spiritual matters, she derives from the painting “a picture of what God sees looking at me. The entirety of humanity looms in the background, but I am in clear focus.”

Impressionists like Degas are known for their untraditional vantage points. In this case, the viewer looks down at the dancer, as if the viewer is in a balcony seat. Sandee’s insights, however, make me wonder what the artist (any artist) thinks of his works in terms of spirituality. Some might faithfully try to duplicate God’s creation. Others create a world of their own design. And perhaps Sandee is right; some artists might try to paint what God sees. This gives us a whole other way to wrap our minds around art.


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