Venus Rising

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Pablo Picasso 1881-1973

Bather Wringing her Hair
1952
Picasso's bather dominates the picture. The massive figure can be seen from front and back, simultaneously, as if the artist had gone around the figure and painted her as he moved. Picasso is the most important twentieth-century artist. While fascinated by the western art of the past, he also went beyond that dominant tradition, exploring so-called 'primitive' art, such as African sculpture. In this case, it is likely that Picasso was directly influenced by Titian's 'Venus', since close comparisons can be drawn between the two works. However, Picasso's bather is much more dynamic in the way she wrings her hair. She also has bodily hair, which most western artists, including Titian, tended to play down or omit completely.
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 150.5 x 119.4 cm
  • Location Private Collection
© Succession Picasso/DACS 2006
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  • © Succession Picasso/DACS 2006

Painting v Sculpture

In Titian's time, experts argued about which artistic method was more realistic: painting or sculpture. Picasso invented a way of showing the many different sides of an object in a flat, two-dimensional picture. This innovative method is called Cubism.