About This Artwork

Edgar Degas
French, 1834–1917

Study of a Male Nude, 1858

Graphite on pink wove paper with pink and blue fibers, altered to buff
205 x 281 mm

Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection, 2013.924

French artists in Rome often gathered at the Villa Medici for after-dinner drawing sessions. On one such occasion, in the company of Gustave Moreau, the young Degas made this study. The two artists depicted the same nude, but from different vantage points. Degas dated his study “1857 ”speculatively, many years later, but Moreau recorded “1858” at the time. The model’s dramatic pose—raised arm, eyes turned heavenward—was in keeping with the large-scale paintings favored by the French state in the 1850s. These tended to show heroic subject matter; the figure here could have been a potential prototype for a multifigure composition.

— 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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