He had distinction, spirit, and was not afraid of the obstacles he might encounter. Degas was one of the great ones, one of the brusque characters of the time, who could be critical and curt to an absurd extreme. He worked hard at psychologically precise, realistic portraits, observing light and colour very closely. The hallmark of his art was world of theatre, dance and music. He devoted most of his attention to ballerinas practising under their master or rehearsing on stage.