Edgar Degas’ treasured “Russian Dancers” artwork has been renamed “Ukrainian Dancers” by the UK’s National Gallery more than 120 years after it was drawn.
The famed pastel work, believed to have been created by the French Impressionist in 1899, already has its new, updated name in the National Gallery’s online listing.
“It is almost certain that these visiting dancers, and those drawn by Degas, were Ukrainian, rather than Russian,” the gallery said of the artwork that features the blue and yellow of Ukraine’s flag.
A spokesperson for the National Gallery told The Guardian that “the title of this painting has been an ongoing point of discussion for many years and is covered in scholarly literature.”
Still, “there has been increased focus on it over the past month due to the current situation” with Russia’s bloody war on its neighbor, the spokesperson said.
“So therefore we felt it was an appropriate moment to update the painting’s title to better reflect the subject of the painting,” the spokesperson said.
The renaming came weeks after a member of the gallery’s education department highlighted the issue, in part following criticism on social media, The Guardian said.
The new name was praised by Mariia Kashchenko, the Ukrainian-born founder and director of the group that is showcasing emerging Ukrainian artists, the UK paper said.
“I understand that the term Russian art became an easy umbrella term which was useful but it’s really important now to get things right,” Kashchenko told the paper.