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This was painted in the summer of 1911 as part of a decorative scheme for the dining room at the Borough Polytechnic, at the Elephant and Castle, London. The theme of the room’s decoration was ‘London on Holiday’, and Grant responded by painting this idealised panorama of seven male nudes bathing. The nudes also represented the continuous movement of a single figure. Their bodies, like the water, are stylised to heighten the decorative effect of the image. Grant’s depiction of the male body was greatly influenced by Michelangelo’s ink studies and in particular his cartoon ‘Battle of Cascina’. The celebration of the male nude was underpinned by both artists by a personal homoerotic fascination.

February 2010