Four Studies of the Head of a Young Italian Woman

Four Studies of the Head of a Young Italian Woman


Edgar Degas

(French, 1834-1917)


Support: Gray wove paper

Sheet: 46.2 x 30.7 cm (18 3/16 x 12 1/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.388



This sheet of head studies unites three fundamental characteristics of Degas's art: consummate draftsmanship, captured movement and expression, and an almost obsessive attention to the attitudes of the female figure. Drawn in 1856 during his first trip to Italy, the sheet represents the model in successive positions and expressions of suffering. The name inscribed at the upper right-Rita Cacciala-must be that of the model. Writing models' names and addresses on figure studies was a common practice among artists, providing them with a handy reference of models they might want to contact for future use.

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