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Video transcript

we're on the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and we're looking at a painting by Digga the dance class and this is a painting that was according to the wall text originally intended for the very first impressionist exhibition in 1874 but not actually shown until two years later actually you said that thinking about that very first impressionist exhibition at first moment when this group of artists decided you know we're not going to show with the salon we're going to create our own exhibition space and how and there make readily normal that seems to us today but it was radical completely radical to not show in the official exhibition didn't they actually borrow the photographer's studio nidar on the boulevard kept loosing they did but there was real concern that you know not enough people will come to see it they wouldn't become known they would have campaign as though one week no one would buy their work how would they eat because if you went to if they showed their work at the official exhibition with the slum everybody was right but I think we know who the Impressionists are yes they work real estate they did the right thing in the end there was some really hilarious and some positive reviews and really scathingly sarcastic reviews yes that first impression this isn't out pretty outrageous painting it doesn't so outrageous to us now does it it looks beautiful it's like a snapshot this woman in the center who sort of body comes out of the head of two heads of these other faces she seems to have her fingers in her mouth just a is that despite the fact that we assume right off that the ballerinas are beautiful and graceful many of the gallery is in fact if not all of them with the exception of the one who's performing are really rendered in a very unkind leeway actually she was even pretty dead I'm gaming you're silly to me yeah yes and actually you can see what's happening I mean this is a little narrative here you have the dancer leading their turn you have the dance master the male with the staff right and then you have the one dancer who's moving across the floor and then the young women who have finished right and the mirror of course that they're you know they're practicing in front of that gives us a sense of the window that must be outside of the painting on the right side it's a little bit you see the city through it and this is really all about this new urban world this culture of especially of a writer of performance and measure and these women who are in the back you know just sort of hanging out and sitting around their hands on their hips LaRose might actually be the escorts right oh there was not into cheeks oh yeah that's right and you know the ballerinas were they sort of a little bit kind of like the movie stars of today right they were sort of even with a little scrap and a little bit of that risque elements the notion of the of the ungainly Ness is so clear when you look for it look at the the dancer who's in the very foreground just him back of the music stand when he looks as if she's hiking of her tutu and someone behind her the woman behind her somehow fixing something about her trip to buy her you're right and the other one has her her fingers in her in her mouth she's biting her nails and we can't see the bottom of her body it all she just started her Rosa I would seems to go out out of these sort of three heads of these three figures in the front another figure on the Left sort of looks out at something outside of the living I mean this is not the self-contained clear narrative which is exactly what would have been presented at the salon it completely breaks all the compositional rules that history and that's right and so but the would spend something intensely modern about this notion of this of an image that was seemed so momentary and so uncor graphed right but of course we know that it was draft by de God and and of course a carefully planned map a perfect metaphor for the subject right you know the the way that the perspective of the room is exaggerated that this very asymmetrical thing that God does very often with a sort of whole bottom right the coronaries empty I look at what that does you have this incredible kind of velocity of the perspective especially in terms of the ceiling line yeah but then you're right the bottom right is completely empty and it's almost doing a kind of East Asian or Japanese and then can create not only a symmetry but also create a kind of flat plane right and in a sense very much at odds with yeah with the velocity of this tension that developed between the sort of two dimensionality of the bottom right and the hyper three dimensionality of the upper left that's right of course there's this other issue we are here viewing something that is very intimate and very spontaneous we as the viewer or much different wouldn't be allowed to see or we do we have the privileged view then of the DanceMaster what's so interesting is that we're about at his eye level art with and in a sense we are another view we have that insiders it's like having a backstage tickets except that they don't cause us