Edgar Degas was a French painter who was born in 1834 and died in 1917. He was the son of a wealthy banker with an aristocratic background. He was a master of drawing moving human figures and worked in many mediums although he preferred pastels. He exhibited with the Impressionists and was best known for his pictures of horses and ballerinas. Ballet dancers became his favourite theme from the early 1870s. He used to sketch from live models in his studios and then combine his sketches into paintings of various groupings (rehearsing, performing, bending, resting, etc.).