This austere image of an old beggar woman was painted by Degas when he was only twenty-three years old. In 1856, he visited Rome and studied at the school based in the Villa Medici. This is one of two studies of an old woman and this sitter was probably glad to earn money as an artist's model.The detached observation of the woman's wrinkled skin and veined, arthritic hand, together with the dirt-ingrained clothing, make it a timeless image of old age and poverty.
1003mm x 752mm
Oil on canvas.
© Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery