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Prints and Authors in the Time of Manet

Gustave Doré
French, 1832–1883

Parisian Menagerie: Opera Rats [La menagerie Parisienne: Rats (d’opéra)

Lithograph, 1854
Gift of an anonymous donor, 1986.157

The young ballet students at the Paris Opera, usually of the lower classes, had a certain reputation in 19th-century Parisian society. Known as “rats” because of their “street” origins and the way they scurried about the stage, the pretty young girls were targets for the attention of older men—a situation that Doré makes plain in his satirical print.