The art of dance.

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.