Large Bather with a Book, 1937 by Pablo Picasso

A glimpse of blue sea behind the Large Bather with a Book indicates that she is on the beach, although this canvas does not date from a period when Picasso spent time by the sea. The location has been chosen to give scope to the three-dimensional volume of the figure. Space is unified and neutral, strictly confined to the dimensions of the painting. The fact that the bather almost totally occupies this space, adds to her monumentality.

Picasso mixed oil and pastel in a thick paste which gives the body a rough, brittle appearance. The rounded volumes which define her seem in places, to be carved out of a sheer rock-face. The form of the book is also treated in an unusual fashion; it resembles a triangular block of stone and the writing on it takes the shape of a thumb-print.