The Ballet from Robert le Diable, 1871
Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)
Oil on canvas; 26 x 21 3/8 in. (66 x 54.3 cm)
Signed and dated (lower right): Degas / 1872
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.552)
This scene is from the third act of Giacomo Meyerbeer's opera Robert le Diable. The ghosts of dead nuns have been resurrected and greet one another amid the ruins of a moonlit monastery. Although dated 1872, this canvas was painted in 1871. In 1876, Degas executed a larger version (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) expressly for Jean-Baptiste Faure, who starred in the opera.