Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas 1834 - 1917
Graphite on paper 200 x 264 mm
Bequeathed by A.S.F. Gow, through the National Art Collections Fund, 1978
Collections record: PD.29-1978
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
In his early career, Degas followed traditional academic practice by making preliminary studies of compositional arrangement and individual pictorial elements in preparation for a finished painting.
This drawing does not relate directly to any of the large-scale figure compositions that Degas painted as a young man in the 1850s and early 1860s, although it may be that it represents a preliminary idea which was abandoned as the composition evolved. Similar youthful figures occur in a number of his paintings of around this date, often in pairs or groupings where one figure all but obscures an adjacent companion.