Melbourn GCSE students visit Degas art exhibition in Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 08:31 01 February 2018

MVC students at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Picture: MVC

MVC students at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Picture: MVC


Melbourn Village College’s Year 10 GCSE art students have visited the ‘Degas: A Passion for Perfection’ exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where they experienced some of the most iconic and influential impressionist art in the world today.

MVC students at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Picture: MVC
 MVC students at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Picture: MVC

They started by viewing the work that influenced Frenchman Edgar Degas, who lived from 1834 to 1917, and listening to a talk by the education officer about the life and work of the great impressionist artist.

They were then shown how to really look at how art is made, consider composition, tone, scale and the range of ideas that Degas developed.

A large selection of Degas’ work on display was from private collectors and has not been on show to the public before.

Students then went on to view and research Degas’ actual work, discussing individual artworks with the education officer and spending time drawing details from the work of this amazing artist.

They will be using their research to enrich their GCSE sketchbook.

Students commented that the work was “like capturing a moment in time” and that “he draws as if they are unaware of his presence, as if he is spying on a private moment”.

The education officer really enlightened students about the role of women and the social restraint that was often forced upon them and how Degas captured them in a remarkable, modern way.

He said: “He makes you think. His women are real, they are engaged with life, gossip, dance – not just staged puppets.”

The students gained an insight into how art can effectively comment on society by depicting people, mainly women, outside a staged setting, showing them talking, dancing – spontaneous and alive. They also saw how art techniques can be used in very creative and spontaneous ways to add energy to their work.

The officer at the Fitzwilliam commented on how “focused and talented the Melbourn students were”.

Head of art Sarah Heeks added: “They produced sketches of Degas’ art work, showing skills and flair, in a very, very busy exhibition space, with confidence and a maturity that was inspiring.”


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