Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Portrait of Henri Michel-Levy, c. 1878. Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon.
“The subject - the artist in his studio - in this case the painter Henri Michel-Lévy, whom Degas met around 1867, is here given a particularly interesting approach. The mannequin on the floor is mirrored by the figure on the painting The Regattas, to the left of Michel-Lévy – seems to suggest an original interpretation of the relationship between truth and illusion.
Set inside a contained, lonely space, the subject’s off-centre position and unexpected perspective disturb the otherwise rather static work. This unique scene also – perhaps mainly – projects an image of Degas as a lucid, detached and pessimistic observer of daily life.”