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Large Nude with Drapery

Grand nu à la draperie

This large nude, contrary to what is occasionally written, is not the pendant of the Grande baigneuse [Large Bather] in the Musée de l’Orangerie collection. However, they both belong to the large nudes of Picasso’s Neo-Classical period in the early 1920s. Heavy and powerfully modelled, the solid features of the sculptural figures of this period were described by Cocteau as "Junos with big cow eyes and huge square hands holding a sheet made of stone". The seated female figure covers her right shoulder with a piece of drapery that she holds in a disproportionately large hand. She tilts her head forward and keeps her eyes closed. Grey and pink dominate this composition as in many of Picasso’s "return to order" works, while the touches of white on the drapery bestow a radiance that is quite striking. As well as the influence of Antiquity, there are indications that Picasso looked to Renaissance painting for inspiration - the pose recalls Fornarina by Raphaël (1483-1520) in the Barberini Palace in Rome. But other artists such as Ingres and Renoir also played a decisive role. Picasso had a seated Baigneuse [Bather] in oils by Renoir, as well as the Toilette de la Baigneuse [Bather at her Toilette] in red chalk, whose similarity to Picasso’s paintings from this period is undeniable. Paul Guillaume acquired this painting in 1927.

Provenance : Paul Guillaume en 1927 ; Domenica Walter