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A nude with fluid, disproportionate extremities and torso and protruding elements that occupy the surface in a disorderly manner: very differently sized feet pointing in opposite directions, asymmetrical breasts and an arm attached to what appears to be a head displaying two circles that could be identified as eyes.

In 1921 Pablo Picasso was asked by the committee of friends of Apollinaire to create a monument in memory of the poet, who had died in the influenza pandemic three years earlier. Apart from the better-known work executed for this purpose, Project for a Monument to Guillaume Apollinaire (1928), Picasso produced this Metamorphosis, based on a series of studies of bathers he made in the sketchbook the previous year while in Cannes, with the intention of sending it to the committee. The committee rejected the design, judging it to be unsuitable.

There are two plaster casts of this piece – made from the clay original – and two cast bronze sculptures called Metamorphosis I and II respectively.

Some scholars have noted that the work displays certain features found in later sculptures by the artist, such as the change of scale in the representation of the legs in Man running (1960) or the oversized base supporting Personage (Cannes, 1961).


What was happening in 1928 ?

  • Picasso begins collaborating with sculptor Julio González
  • Telephone communications are established between Spain and the United States
  • Coca Cola comes to Europe
  • Igor Stravinsky finishes his ballet "Apollon musagète"

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