Paris. 1881. The artist: Edgar Degas. The sculpture: La petite danseuse de 14 ans ( the 14 years old little dancer). outraged art critics. the young ballerina was depicted as ” a flower of precocious depravity with a face marked by the hateful promise of every vice”. Degas did not portrait his model, Marie van Goethem. through his sculpture, the artist was bearing witness to the society of his day and what it did to children like Marie. Marie did not become a professional dancer, she ended up as a prostitute in a sordid part of the city. i made a series of paintings to honour Degas and Marie : The petit rat, in a better world, protected by Pierrot, the character of the Commedia dell’arte. Pierrot is the symbol of the ultimate goodness to be found in the performing arts.
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