Tanagra, the namesake of this sculpture, was a Boetian town renowned for its terracotta production during ancient times. Tanagra figures were primarily naturalistic depictions of women and girls in quotidian dress and accessory, which were coated with bright pigments after firing (see fig. 1). Unlike other Greek terracotta sculpture, Tanagra figures were usually crafted with multi-part molds, allowing for more variety in output and realistic depictions in the round. After archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century brought a flood of Tanagra figures to the antiquities market, they have been admired by collectors and artists for their technical complexity and artistic elegance. Picasso's reference to this ancient center of ceramic production reveals his interest in the history of the medium, especially in civilizations situated around the Mediterranean.
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