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Aux Courses en Province is an oil on canvas work painted by Edgar Degas in 1872 Degas depicts a group of upper-class tourists attending the races in the French countryside In the lower-right foreground resides a stationary horse carriage The carriages passengers comprised of a coachman a small dog and two women - one cradling a baby while the other holds an parasol - appear to be wholly uninterested in the scene behind them instead paying attention to the baby In the distance racehorses bolt across the green pasture as several onlookers mounted upon their own horses mill about The azure sky above is vast taking up more than half of the canvas and is filled with feathery clouds It can be assumed that the time of day is the early afternoon by looking at the small shadows the figures cast and the parasol being held by one of the women suggesting that the sun is more or less directly overhead The work follows Degas unorthodox style of arbitrarily cropping figures by placing the horse-carriage directly in the bottom right foreground of the painting The result gives the viewer the feeling that the painting somehow extends beyond the borders of the canvas making the field seem that much more expansive This also eliminates the possibility of the horse-carriage becoming the only point of focus in the painting The most important thing to note here though is that Degas has omitted the areas where the horse carriage comes in contact with the ground This makes its location and scale in relation with the rest of the painting hard to discern The image becomes effectively flattened as though the horse-carriage could actually be a two-dimensional cardboard cutout that somehow manifested itself in front of Degas while he was painting This is actually quite possible - at least in the sense that Degas was known for taking pieces from previous paintings and sketches and re-using them The
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