Born in Paris, France 1834. Degas was the great figure painter of the 19th century. He tried to capture the instantaneous character of movement and gesture and he used his technical skill for innovation rather than for working in the style of the day. An early student of photography, he used early prints to analyse accurately the motions of human beings for paintings such as ‘Blue Dancers’: this image also shows his novel use of perspective influenced by Japanese art. He was not aiming for images which look real but feel real. ‘The Return of the Herd’ is like a film-still, with surfaces indicated by colour over accurate drawing, and a composition of a sculptural quality. For most of his later life he was almost completely blind. He died in Paris, 1917.