The Pan Pipes, 1923 by Pablo Picasso
Pan, an ancient Greek god and patron of pastoral poets, was also a symbol of fertility and love. He played his reed pipes, formed from a nymph who metamorphosed to escape his amorous clutches. Pan was said to be dangerous in the midday
heat, as represented so intensely in this picture; the deep heat emanates from the fierce blue colours in three horizontal bands.
Another possible source of influence is series of bather paintings by Paul Cezanne, such as The Large Bathers, and particularly his images of mole bathers, works with which Picasso would probably have been familiar.
This work sees a development of Picasso's life-long artistic fascination with male sexuality wrapped in images from mythology. The face on the left recalls earlier self-projections, such as Self-Portrait (1907), and suggests the 42-year-old artist's contentment with his own creativity and virility.