Reclining Nude, 1932 by Pablo Picasso

Picasso's work is traditionally divided into periods defined either in chromatic terms (Blue, Rose) or stylistic terms (Cubist, Neoclassical). To these well-known periods should also be added those in which his art was dominated by a particular woman. For each woman in his life, Picasso developed a specific pictorial vocabulary that corresponded to her general physical characteristics, and to the aesthetical and sentimental feelings she inspired in him. From 1931 to 1936 the figure of Marie-Therese Walter, whom he met by chance on the street in 1927 when she was seventeen years old, occupied a prominent place in his painting and sculpture. Although their liaison was kept secret for a long time, Marie-Therese was omnipresent in his art. Fate evidently had a hand in their encounter, and Picasso prophetically declared to her when they first met: "We are going to do great things together." His painting from then on became a fantasmagoria of volume and modelling, for Marie-Therese's full and vigorous forms were ideally suited to his desire to work on sculpture in the round. She inspired a new vocabulary of line and colour logically derived from the Cannes and Di-nard period. BrassaT recalls that "he liked the blondness of her hair, her radiant complexion, her statuesque body. From that day on his painting began to undulate. At no other time in his life was his painting so vibrant, the curves so sinuous, the arms so enveloping, the hair so flowing. "

"This Reclining Nude belongs to the luxuriant series of sleeping women whose innocent abandon leaves them ripe for erotic delectation."

Highlights with matt white paint are briskly applied like pastel to the body and background to model the forms and to give the picture an extraordinary luminosity. The woman's nudity seems to bathe in a shower of solar particles and bask in a sulphurous warmth. The intensity of the radiant energy is suggested by the brightness of the sun and by the wavy patterns that decorate the wall. The sensual and voluptuous arabesques of the body moulded into a figure are reminiscent of Blue Nude of Henri Matisse.