Getting to Know the Wor1d’s Greatest Artists: Edgar Degas.

DVD. Approx. 23 mi1utes (closed captioned). Getting to Know, 2010.$29.95. Gr 2-5

Mike Venezia’s light-hearted biography of Edgar Degas (Citizen’s Press, 2000) is energized in this excellent production. The artist’s story is told humorously but in straightforward terms by fully-animated cartoon characters. Puns and gags abound, but the facts of his life and his art are clearly and memorably presented. The anination is punctuated by photographs of some of the places he frequented as well as his works of art.

Tim Griffin gives a very appropriate voice to Degas, who learned to love art and music as a chid, at the side of his father; a banker. Thanks to his family’s good fortune, Degas had the luxury of touring Italy for self-directed study or spending hours at the Louvre, with no need to sell his art . However, he did sell many paintings, and his studies of everyday Parisians in cafes or cabarets, at the races or in theaters, and especially in the ballet, became very popular. He joined the Impressionists to exhibit his work, but never considered himself partof the movement because he was too much of a perfectionist to paint “in the moment.”

His careful studies of models often found their way into severalof his paintings, and he was known to continue to work on a piece even after it was purchased. Each fact that is presented and enacted ~ helps viewers form a complete picture of the artist and to appreciate how an artist’s life influences his work.

-MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY