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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

© 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Spanish, 1881 - 1973
Three Women at the Fountain
Pastel on wove paper

25 x 19 1/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Miss Ima Hogg and other Trustees
of the Varner-Bayou Bend Heritage Fund

Arts of Europe

While visiting Rome in 1917, Pablo Picasso immersed himself in Greco-Roman art, ushering in his Classical Period (1917–23). Three Women at the Fountain is from a series of drawings Picasso made in preparation for his painting Three Women at the Spring.

Inspired by the richly adorned fountains and network of springs at the royal park of Fontainebleu, Three Women at the Fountain depicts a group of river goddesses gathered around a fountain. Picasso derived his composition from the sculptural reliefs of classical Greek grave stelae. The women do not interact with one another, but are united by their bulky physiques and their drapery, which transforms their bodies into freestanding fluted columns. Picasso lends the figures a 3-D quality with simple, geometric forms and a strong emphasis on line. He developed his personal form of Neoclassicism concurrent with his continuing investigations of Cubism.