Left: painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Right: Blue Nude by Pablo Picasso
There is something subtly sensuous about the back of a woman portrayed in paintings, with the gentle curve of a spine and soft muscle definition. Whether it appears in modern art or classical ones, a full-frontal view of a female nude might seem vulgar but one from the back is never so. It also retains some ambiguity regarding the identity of the sitter, making for a more compelling portrait. Here I like how Picasso has reinterpreted a classic subject with his signature bold lines and painterly brushwork, imbuing a traditional theme with freshness. His female is curled up cocoon-like, creating far more tension and anxiety in contrast to the quiet introspection displayed by Toulouse-Lautrec's model.