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It was also thanks largely to Rilke that when Balthus went to Paris at the age of 16 in 1924, many doors were open to him. He was welcomed by André Gide, the most influential writer of the day, and by Pierre Bonnard, Albert Marquet and Maurice Denis among painters. When Rilke came to Paris for five months in 1925, he dedicated his new poem, ''Narcisse,'' to Balthus. In 1926, with financial help from Rilke, Balthus spent a year traveling in Italy, where he made copies and sketches after Piero della Francesca, Masaccio, Masolino and others.

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