About This Artwork

Edgar Degas
French, 1834–1917

Italienne (Gaëta), 1856/57

Graphite, with stumping, on blue wove paper with blue fibers, perimeter-mounted on cream wove paper wrapped around millboard (touch of red chalk)
456 x 310 mm

Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection, 2013.921

The young woman who posed for this study probably came from Mola di Gaëta, now known as Formia, a small town in southern Italy. Her heavy dress, with its wide, embroidered sleeves, was typical of the locals. Degas traveled considerably in the vicinity of Rome and Naples in about 1856–59 while, under the sponsorship of the French state, he was a resident at the Villa Medici. Artists slightly senior to Degas had made their name with this kind of imagery, as rural Italian subjects were popular with buyers back in Paris. Although Degas claimed that he was “not mad about this wellknown Italian picturesque,” this drawing shows he was still keen to try the genre.

— Exhibition label, The Thrill of the Chase: Drawings from the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection, March 15–June 15, 2013, Galleries 124–127.

Interpretive Resources

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