On this day in 1977, Saturday Night Fever opened at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. We have it to thank for platform shoes and satin pants (ugh), not to mention a dance craze that electrified clubs the world over.

To celebrate, the theme today is “dance” and we’ll look back over three famous paintings that capture the subject beautifully.

Sargent – El Jaleo (1882)

John Singer Sargent is an American born painter who produced portraits during late 1800’s and early 1900’s. El Jaleo is a large painting over 7 feet by 11 feet, but it’s the actual scene that gives it such awesome presence.

Here the energy and passion of a Spanish dancer is captured in dazzling light thanks to moody silhouettes and stark contrasts. It’s truly magnificent.

Matisse – Danse (1910)

Matisse was a leading figure in Modern Art and is known for amazing use of color. This painting, with its strong contrast of warm red and cool green complimentary colors, is a good example.

Matisse was fascinated with primitive art and we see that, not only in the style of painting, but also in the dance and the nudes themselves. There’s a lack of formality and decorum. Rather there’s a natural freedom.

Degas – Ballet Rehearsal on Stage (1874)

No dance theme is complete without mention of Degas. Though he painted a number of subjects, he’s best known for his stunning ballet series.

This one is my favorite. The detail is masterful – you can practically feel the fabric of the skirts and the graceful rhythm of the dancers.



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