Edgar Degas was a French artist and one of the founders of the impressionist movement. Born in Paris on the 19th of July 1834, he attended the Lycee Louis-le-Grand public school, before embarking on a career as a lawyer. In 1855 Degas gave up his law studies and enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (school of fine arts) where he studied drawing. After his artistic education Degas travelled to Italy where he painted copies of works by the great Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian, .
Degas artistic career began well and he had his first exhibition in 1865. However, the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870 and Degas joined the National Guard leaving him with him little time to paint.
After the war Degas produced some of his greatest works when he and some friends organised their own exhibitions. This group of artists was to become known as the Impressionists.
Later in his career Degas took up photography, taking pictures of nudes and dancers. He also photographed his friends including a portrait of fellow artist Renoir.
Degas was still working in his 70s but his eyesight had begun to fade. He never married and died in Paris on September 27th 1917, at the age of 83.