Journey from the streets of Paris to the heart of a superb exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, whose extensive collection of art by Edgar Degas is the most representative in Britain. With exclusive access to rare and diverse works, this film tells a fascinating story of Degas’s pursuit for perfection through both experimentation with new techniques and lessons learned from studying the past masters.

Sometimes frustrated by his own failings, Degas was consumed by obsessive principles and failing eyesight, but his determination to capture everyday life was evident in every mark he made. Never fully satisfied, Degas kept many of his drawings and sculptures in private. But now they can be seen as some of the most beautifully detailed and expressive works in the modern era. Using written accounts by friends and commentators, and the narration of letters written by Degas himself, Passion for Perfection reveals a more-complex truth behind one of the most influential French artists of the late 19th century and explores the complex workings of Degas’s artistic mind.

“Art is not a matter of what you see, but what you make other people see.” —Edgar Degas

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David Bickerstaff
Running Time
90 minutes
Digital, Color