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A nude youth poised on hands and knees, facing left

Against a medium dark brown background, monochrome tan brushstrokes depict a nude adolescent male crouching on the ground. Leaning forward on his arms, he looks ahead to the left and away from the viewer. His right knee bends forward, as if he is readying to crawl forward and his face shows a look of determination, with his jaw firmly set. Light tan and white brushstrokes highlight his shoulder, collarbone, hips and legs. His fingers and limbs are outlined in thin, dark, quickly sketched lines.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French (Paris, France 1834 - 1917 Paris, France)
A Nude Youth Crawling, Study for "Young Spartan Girls Challenging Boys"
Other Titles
Former Title: A Nude Youth Crawling, Study for "Young Spartans Exercising"
Work Type
c. 1860
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on paper-covered board
24 x 31.7 cm (9 7/16 x 12 1/2 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Paris, Atelier Degas, Vente, 1917.
Mrs. Albert D. Lasker (Mary Woodard Reinhardt), Gift to Fogg Art Museum, 1927.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mrs. Albert D. Lasker
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Exhibition of French Painting of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1929), no. 26
  • Agnes Mongan, "Degas as seen in American collections", The Burlington Magazine (June 1938), LXXII, p. 296
  • Agnes Mongan and Paul J. Sachs, Drawings in the Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1940), vol. 1, cat. no. 661, fig. 335
  • Works by Edgar Degas, exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, OH, 1947), no. 56
  • Ingres and Degas: Two Classical Draughtsmen, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1961), no. 15a
  • Jean Sutherland Boggs, Drawings by Degas, exh. cat., City Art Museum of St. Louis (St. Louis, MO, 1966), no. 36
  • Sarah Whitfield, The Academic Tradition: An Exhibition of Nineteenth-century French Drawings, exh. cat., Indiana University Art Museum (Bloomington, IN, 1968), no. 36
  • Devin Burnell, "Degas and his 'Young Spartans Exercising' ", Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 1969 -1970), vol. IV, p. 61
  • Theodore Reff, Degas: The Artist's Mind [reprint], The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1976), p. 277, fig. 189
  • John Minor Wisdom, French nineteenth century oil sketches, David to Degas, exh. cat., William Hayes Ackland Memorial Art Center (Chapel Hill, NC, 1978), no. 24
  • C. Harrison, Modern Art and Modernism: Manet to Pollock, The Open University Press (Milton Keynes, England, 1983), plate II.24
  • Theodore Reff, Degas: The Artist's Mind, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1987), p. 277, fig. 189
  • Richard Thomson, Degas, the nudes, Thames & Hudson (London, England, 1988), pp. 41, 235; ill. 39
  • David Bomford, Art in the Making: Degas, exh. cat., National Gallery Publications/Yale University Press (London and New Haven, 2004), p. 81, fig. 81
  • Marjorie B. Cohn and Jean Sutherland Boggs, Degas at Harvard, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge and New Haven, 2005), cat. no. 19, fig. 54, p. 75 note 105
  • Catalogue des tableaux, pastels et dessins par Edgar Degas et provenant de son atelier 1e vente: May 16-18, 1918, auct. cat., Galerie Georges Petit (Paris, France, May 6 - May 8, 1918), probably part of lot no. 62b

Exhibition History

  • French Painting of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 03/06/1929 - 04/06/1929
  • Works by Edgar Degas, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 02/05/1947 - 03/09/1947
  • Ingres and Degas: Two Classical Draughtsmen, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/24/1961 - 05/20/1961
  • Drawings by Degas, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 01/20/1967 - 02/26/1967; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 03/10/1967 - 04/30/1967; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 05/16/1967 - 06/25/1967
  • The Academic Tradition: An Exhibition of Nineteenth-Century French Drawings arranged by the Indiana University Art Museum, Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, 06/19/1968 - 08/11/1968
  • French nineteenth century oil sketches, David to Degas, William Hayes Ackland Memorial Art Center, Chapel Hill, 03/05/1978 - 04/16/1978
  • Degas at Harvard, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/01/2005 - 11/27/2005
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/28/2016 - 10/25/2016

Related Works

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