Degas' dance masterpieces


Degas' fascination with ballet is universally known. And his realistic paintings of the Paris Opera dancers - practicing, posing and primping - adorn museums across the world. But you only have to go as far as the Philadelphia Museum of Art to find a comprehensive exhibition of 135 of his paintings, drawings, pastels and sculptures, alongside set models, costume designs and photographs of the dancers.

The exhibit Degas and the Dance runs Wednesday through May 11 at the museum.

The show's curators have identified many of the theaters and rehearsal rooms that Degas painted, and the figures in several works have been identified.

The exhibit is organized by themes: There are sections on the private world of dancers; portraits of famous ballerinas; classroom lessons; stage performances; and encounters between dancers and their admirers.

A series of related concerts, lectures and other educational programs takes place throughout the exhibit's run.

The exhibit "Degas and the Dance" runs Wednesday through May 11 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 26th Street. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Admission is $20; $17 seniors, students and ages 13-18; $10 ages 5-12; free for ages 4 and under. Call 215-235-7469.

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