According to Professor Theodore Reff, the present drawing was executed by Degas during a life drawing class at the Villa Médicis in Rome, circa 1857-1858, when he was living there. Although Degas was not a pensioner at the Villa Médicis, he was still given permission to draw from the model. There was another drawing of the same model in the Nepveu-Degas collection. Reff states: 'The style of both drawings seems to me characteristic of Degas's draftsmanship at that time, as seen in many other academies as well as copies after the Old Masters that he made in the same years. Already evident here is his mastery of the figure's foreshortened arms and concentrated expression and his skill in using incisive contour lines to define forms and finely graded shading strokes to give them a strong effect of volume and luminosity.' (in a letter dated 15 March 2008).