How Degas’ Little Dancer broke the mould – and her maker
annual seats, for which they would be granted backstage access. They would then sponsor or protect “their” girls in return for certain favours. The age of consent in Paris had been 13 since 1863. Before that, it was 11.
To some, the sculpture’s obscure facial expression spoke of a girl who knew too much; Paul Mantz, reviewing the Salon for Le Temps, said that her face was “marked with the hateful promise of every vice”. Albert Wolff, Le Figaro’s arch-conservative critic, noted the similarity between her profile and the two Criminal
Physiognomies sketches Degas showed alongside her. Degas’s