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Throughout his life, Picasso reworked the theme of the female nude. In his eighties, he revised the traditional ideal of beauty with particular violence, subjecting the body to a repeated assault in paint. Here, a reclining female figure is presented as a raw, sexualised arrangement of orifices, breasts and cumbersome limbs. ‘It’s all there’, Picasso said, ‘I try to do a nude as it is.’ The face is that of his second wife, Jacqueline Roque.

March 2009