A new ribbon for a dancer
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Petite danseuse de quatorze ans
For more information about this young dancer, please go to the online collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
The Collection Enriched
Peter Hecht (in the white shirt) is shown briefly here; he is the guest curator of The Collection Enriched, in which the statue of the young dancer is being exhibited. The collection presentation gives an overview of the visual arts from the middle ages to the middle of the 20th century. See the website of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen for more information.
The picture shows the old ribbon, that was attached in the ‘nineties. This ribbon was wider, larger and lighter and appeared too new and too obtrusive.
The original ribbon
This ribbon is not the one Degas used on the statue either. Degas originally made the statue in wax, and gave it a suit and ribbon of silk, a tutu of tulle and a real wig on its head. It was exhibited once in this form, at the Paris Impressionist exhibition in 1881, where it was considered shocking because it appeared so lifelike. After this, Degas kept the wax sculpture in his studio until his death in 1917. When it was found there after his death, his family decided in 1923 to have it cast in bronze in a limited edition of 24 statues and thus preserve it. The wig and the ballet suit were now cast in bronze. Only the tutu and the ribbon were retained as textile additions; these shapes could not be executed in bronze. It is probably this ribbon - the one from the bronze version of 1923 - that has been preserved in the museum depositary. In all probability, this version is very similar to the one Degas gave the girl himself in 1881.
Textile restorer Saskia Rijsdijk here removes the old ribbon from the statue. She ties on the new one in a way that reflects as closely as possible the original ribbon. For this, an illustration from the book is used as an example. This example is in all probability based on the first known version of the statue dating from 1923. In the background we can see Maarten Spruyt, stylist and designer and responsible for the design of The Collection Enriched, as he assists Saskia Rijsdijk.
Edgar Degas’s famous sculpture of a dancer, that is now in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum collection, really needed a new ribbon in her hair. Her current ribbon, which had been tied around her bronze ponytail in the ‘nineties, was too obtrusive in both colour and size. After some research by a textile restorer, a new ribbon was chosen - one that looked more like the one Degas gave the dancer himself in 1881. This video shows how in April 2011, just before the opening of De Collectie Verrijkt [The Collection Enriched] and under the watchful eye of various experts, the dancer had a new ribbon placed in her hair.
Camera and editing: Rose Klaver and Catrien Schreuder. Voice-over: Barbara Schoonhoven.
A new ribbon for a dancer by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.arttube.nl/en/video/Boijmans/Petite_Danseuse.