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.
The son of an artist, Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, and studied at art school in Barcelona. He visited Paris in 1900 and after several extended stays settled there in 1904. Picasso was a hugely prolific and highly influential artist who worked in numerous styles throughout his life. However, it is probably for his cubist paintings that he is known. Their revolutionary treatment of subject matter, whether still life or portrait, is instantly recognisable as being by Picasso. The Gallery of Modern Art has a small, but choice collection of Picasso's work, including a Blue Period painting, a cubist collage, two still life paintings, two drawings, several prints and some notable loans.