UK National Gallery renamed Degas’ works “Russian dancers” as “Ukrainian dancers”
The National Gallery has altered the title of Edgar Degas’ drawing “Russian Dancers” to “Ukrainian Dancers,” prompting calls for other cultural institutions to rethink ‘lazy’ interpretations or mislabelling of Ukrainian art and heritage. After calls by Ukrainians on social media, the gallery said it had changed the title of the French impressionist’s turn-of-the-20th-century work, which is currently not on display. It is a pastel depicting troupes of dancers, which the artist was fascinated to see performing in Paris late in his life.
The yellow and blue of Ukraine’s national colors are noticeable in what appear to be hair ribbons worn by the dancers and in garlands they are carrying. A spokesperson for the National Gallery said: “The title of this painting has been an ongoing point of discussion for many years and is covered in the scholarly literature; however there has been an increased focus on it over the past month due to the current situation, so therefore, we felt it was an appropriate moment to update the painting’s title to better reflect the subject of the painting.”