A small 19th century painting by an anonymous Master; a portrait of Dante, its subject; a note which reads ‘E. Degas’. These three elements form the basis of the study presented in this paper, which relates to a painting whose extremely high quality is self-evident, executed in the manner of old starting from an abbozzo, as not always was customary in 19th century, a painting which was in turn taken from Dante’s death-mask, which Degas among many other artists had drawn. Added to this is a small iconographical mystery: the poet’s face as depicted here is different from the usual depiction of the angry, elderly Florentine poet in exile. Indeed it shows a youth whose expression is at once enigmatic and appeased: could he be the Dante of Purgatory, known, from the Divine Comedy’s three cantiche to have been best loved by Degas? And if the author were not the youthful copyist Degas, is our painting then definitely by a French Master? Could the unique ‘young Dante’ be the work of a Nazarene or, rather, of a Purist? In short: ‘a painting, the philology and perhaps a name’.