Galerie Brame & Lorenceau has confirmed the authenticity of this drawing.
Degas stayed in Italy, where his grandfather and cousins resided, from July 1856 to March 1859. He made numerous drawings after paintings in museums in Naples, Florence and Rome, including, as seen here, Michelangelo's frescos in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. The recto of this drawing shows a detail of the Delphic Sybil, located on the lower ceiling by the entrance to the chapel. The verso study is a life drawing in which Degas concentrated on the foreshortening of a reclining, nude female figure. It was probably executed in the French Academy at the Villa Medici in Rome, where Degas frequented the open evening sessions in which visiting artists could draw from the model.