The Bathers, c. 1918 by Pablo Picasso
Starting from 1918, Picasso spent all his summers at the beach, first at Biarritz, then on the Cote d’Azur or in Dinard. These journeys inspired him to create a series of works on the theme of bathers. This painting was created in 1918 at Biarritz and the first one of the series.
It has been a long tradition in art history for artists to depict the female nudity with the sea scene, extending from The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli to The Large Bathers of Paul Cezanne. This one, though, gives an idea of the healthy, active life of vacationers on sunny beaches, free of cumbersome clothing and cares.
This canvas, which Picasso kept for his own reference, possesses an unique place in his work: tthe detailed realism, the simple and direct handling, the sincere beauty of the lean and flexible bodies are uncommon attributes- Picasso generally depicts all the more liberally supplied female life structures.
The straightforwardness of the light in any case, these dull cutting edge Venuses in their sticking bathing suits, the biomorphic types of the rocks and stones, the stillness of the ocean, the solidified motions of the bathers, and the overjoyed disposition of the standing lady with her tentacular hair deliver a general impression of peculiarity and danger, a surrealistic air tantamount to specific seascapes by Tanguy.