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Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen
Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, Executed in wax 1878-81; cast in bronze after 1922
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French
Bronze, tulle, and silk
Height: 39 inches (99.1 cm)
The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, 1986
1986-26-11
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Looking Questions

  • Look at the body of the young dancer. Notice the position of her feet, legs, arms, torso, and head. Does she appear comfortable or tense? Check her elbows and knees. Are they loose or locked? Where are her hands? How is she holding them?
  • What do you notice when you look at Marie’s face? Her eyes are closed and her head is stretched up. Many critics in 1881 thought she looked ugly. They didn’t understand why Degas would show her as an awkward child and not as a delicate ballerina. Do you think she is ugly? Since we can’t see her eyes we get the impression she is concentrating on something. What could she be thinking about?
  • A young ballet dancer like Marie had to train and practice constantly before she ever got a chance to dance on stage. She had to pass examinations for promotion to the various stages of training. It was exhausting and required extreme dedication. Would you like to be a ballet dancer? Can you think of an activity some children participate in today that requires the same kind of practice and dedication?

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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