The voluptuous female form is Fernando Botero's constant muse. She appears in numerous canvases, bronze and marble sculptures throughout the artist's long, prolific career. Although Botero began exploring this subject in his paintings of the 1950s, his fleshy figures do not materialize in sculpture until the 1970s. Mujer fumando, 1987 is an iconic example of Botero's mature investigation of his most beloved theme in three dimensions. Mujer fumando captures what Botero considers the essence of his work. More so than in his paintings, sculpture allows Botero to create a tangible sensuality, exemplified here in the woman's corporal fullness. She enters a third dimension and occupies our public space in a grand fashion. While Mujer fumando is unmistakably Botero in style, she is also part of a long lineage of female nudes in art. Voluptuous women appear in art throughout history from the Venus of Willendorf to the Renaissance and Baroque goddesses of Titian and Rubens. Botero, who devoted himself at a young age to studying the work of European masters, is well versed in this tradition of depicting the female form. More specifically, Mujer fumando, refers to representations of the reclining nude. Two of the most famous examples of such a type seen from behind include the Rokeby Venus and the Grand Odalisque, by Diego Velázquez and Jean Auguste-Dominique Ingres respectively, two artists whom Botero claims as seminal influences. Botero has however developed a thoroughly post-modernist female--she has monumental presence and aplomb and most importantly--is no longer relegated to the private space of the boudoir.