Like many artists, Picasso looked to the history of art for inspiration. From the late 1940s to the early 1960s he focused with particular intensity on individual works by past masters, making variations in painting, drawing, sculpture, and prints. The work of these historic figures had a catalytic impact on Picasso at a time when contemporary art—the various forms of Abstract Expressionism, for example—was going in directions counter to his own aesthetic concerns.
Based on a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, this series comprises thirteen states and variations in all. In the Bible, King David lusts after Bathsheba, a young woman he sees bathing.
Gallery label from Picasso: Variations and Themes, March 28–September 30, 2010.