Off view

Italian, 1913–1995
Tall Bather No. 1, 1956
6 ft. 11 in. x 18 in. x 28 in. (210.8 x 45.7 x 71.1 cm)
Gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation
© Estate of Emilio Greco; Archivi Emilio Greco Roma
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson

Tall Bather No. I is the first in a series of seven variously posed sculptures of female bathers, a central theme in Emilio Greco’s sculptural work. Greco noted that he considered his seven Large Bathers as dancers, and their movements and poses as a progressive choreography. He planned to create twelve Bathers on this scale and place them around a pool or pond but the final five were never realized.

Tall Bather No. I stands in a relaxed but contained contrapposto pose: her torso is slightly curved and she leans back on a straightened leg while her front leg bends slightly. She wraps her arms around her upper body in a gesture of modesty. Her head is slightly tilted and her eyes look downward, perhaps suggesting pensiveness and inwardness. The soft swelling of her body and the elegance of the sculpture as a whole suggest the stylistic quality of sixteenth-century Italian Mannerist painters. These classical associations are, however, disrupted by some decidedly stylized, modern elements of the figure, such as her hairstyle and the tight-fitting bikini bottom.