This work is one of the Transparences painted between 1928 and 1929. So named for its "multiple layers of transparent images, although it was also characterized by pervasive moods of wistfulness and melancholy, and by extensive reference to art of the past" (W.A. Camfield, Francis Picabia, New Jersey 1979, p. 229). Based on Greek and Roman mythology, historical sites and figures and scientific names, this painting in particular is thought to be based on the evocative 17th century images of Boticelli's timeless women.
The film critic Gaston Ravel exclaimed after visiting a Picabia exhibition in 1929: "The multiple impressions which we have used and abused in our films are here immobilized by a magic brush!...At first glance some confusion perhaps: but, little by little, everything comes clear, slowly...It is a miracle!" ('Exposition de peinture', La critique cinématographique, Paris 29 October 1929).
His creative instincts clearly drew upon a strong sense of artistic heritage, his Transparences closely modelling the work of the collagists. In the best of these works, Picabia achieves "a fusion of suggestive symbolism and poignant visual experiences that transform his sources into an utterly personal creation". (W.A. Camfield, op.cit., p. 234)