British National Gallery renames Edgar Degas drawing ‘Ukrainian Dancers’

Edgar Degas’ famous drawing previously titled ‘Russian Dancers’ will now be known as ‘Ukrainian Dancers’ after being renamed by the National Gallery in London. Photo courtesy of the National Gallery

April 3 (UPI) — Edgar Degas’ famous drawing previously titled ‘Russian Dancers’ will now be known as ‘Ukrainian Dancers’ after being renamed by the National Gallery in London.

The decision, first reported by The Guardian, comes amid the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine that has left at least 1,189 civilians dead. The name change has since taken effect on the museum’s website.

The pastel drawing, made on tracing paper, was created by the famous French impressionist painter around 1899. It depicts three women wearing white and yellow clothes and wreaths of yellow and blue flowers, the national colors of Ukraine, dancing in a field.

The drawing in the collection of the National Gallery is one of many drawings and paintings of the same name by Degas held by museums around the world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York appears to have at least two similar pastel drawings in its collection.

The National Gallery‘s decision to rename the piece could encourage other institutions to follow suit, as The Guardian notes.

“The title of this painting has been the subject of discussion for many years and is covered in scholarly literature,” a museum spokesperson told the outlet.

“However, there has been increased attention to this topic over the past month due to the current situation, so we felt it was an appropriate time to update the title of the table to better reflect the topic. of the whiteboard.”

The change was welcomed by Ukrainian culture scholars who told the Guardian that describing most art as Russian has become an “easy generic term” for works depicting the culture of former Soviet Union nations.

“Every trip to a gallery or museum in London with exhibits of USSR art or film reveals a deliberate or simply lazy misinterpretation of the region as an endless Russia,” wrote the director of the Ukrainian Institute Olesya Khromeychuk in German magazine Der Spiegel last month.

“Curators have no problem presenting Jewish, Belarusian or Ukrainian art and artists as Russian. On rare occasions, when a Ukrainian is not presented as Russian, he or she may be presented as” d of Ukrainian origin “.”

People fought to preserve Ukrainian art and history amid the war in Ukraine. United Nations officials said last month they were “deeply concerned” about the survival of these arts and cultural sites.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said in a statement that the agency was “working to assess the damage” to such sites across Ukraine.

Ukraine is home to several sites listed for protection and preservation due to their global significance, including seven World Heritage Sites.


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