Xanthe, Francis Picabia Transparencies Series



The transparence Picabia titled Xanthe evokes a story more than a millennium in the making, from the destruction of Troy circa 1180BC, through the Homeric oral tradition some four centuries later in the Iliad, to Virgil’s mention of the legend in his Aeneid, circa 19BC. The title refers to the river Xanthus, which traverses the Trojan plain. In Book XX of the Iliad, Homer recounts the battle between the Achaean hero Achilles and the river itself, as the god Xanthus. Achilles is victorious; his troops pursue the retreating Trojans back to their city, where he will soon kill King Priam’s son Hector in single combat.
Virgil was referring in Book I of his Aeneid to post-Homeric embellishments to the story of Troy, when, following Hector’s death, Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, leads her women warriors as allies of the Trojans in a second battle by the Xanthus. She encounters Achilles, who after a hard fight runs his sword into her breast. As she lies dying in his arms, he lifts her helmet, and—gazing into her eyes—falls in love with her. Picabia portrays the possibility of a great love thwarted by fate; Penthesilea and Achilles raise their arms to touch, but their hands do not meet.
Picabia based his figures of Penthesilea and Achilles on the marble sculptures Amazone blessée and Doryphoros (“Spear-bearer”) in the Louvre, Roman-period copies after two lost works by the 5th Century BC Greek sculptor Polykleitos. Picabia reversed the image of the Amazone in his painting. The large female head in Xanthe is also based on the Louvre marble. At lower left is a dolphin, is a creature sacred to the gods Aphrodite, Apollo, and Poseidon, all of whom favored the Trojans. The dolphin is also a symbol for Christ, as Picabia depicted in his gouache Jésus et dauphin, 1928. Picabia’s layering of imagery in pictorial space parallels the evolution of myth through time.

Francis Picabia (22 January 1879 – 30 November 1953) was a French avant-garde painter, poet and typographist. After experimenting with Impressionism and Pointillism, Picabia became associated with Cubism. His highly abstract planar compositions were colourful and rich in contrasts. He was one of the early major figures of the Dada movement in the United States and in France. He was later briefly associated with Surrealism, but would soon turn his back on the art establishment.

Available as a fine art print and as a stretched canvas panel (heavy fine art canvas stretched over 1.5 inch deep edge solid wood frame).

highest quality canvas panels

deep edge canvas prints


All prints are made using archival art stocks and UV pigment inks to give up to 200 years life. Prints are sold unframed and unmounted.



All orders for unframed fine art prints and original paintings are dispatched within 2 working days of receipt of payment.

Orders for custom framed prints are dispatched within 4 working days.

All orders are fully tracked from dispatch to delivery at youir home or business.

All print and original painting orders are fully insured against loss or damage in transit. We refund or replace any damaged or lost orders.

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Size and Printed Materials

Fine art papers are printed without any additional white border Please let us know at the time of ordering if you would like a small additional white border.

Rolled canvas options have an additional white border of approximately 2.5 inches (7cm) on all 4 sides to aid stretching.

Ready to hang canvas panels are stretched on 1.5 inch deep solid pine frames from sustainable forestry sources. The image is mirrored on all 4 sides to give an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Gift Wrap Option

Why not have us gift wrap your order and attach a personalised message to the recipient. Available for all orders. Each order is hand wrapped in high quality gift wrap with meatllic ribbon and bow. Your personalised message is printed on a card which is included with your order.

Have your hand wrapped gift delivered directly to the recipient.

Full tracking and insurance included with every order.

Please note design may vary depending upon availability

Just purchase the gift wrap option HERE

Finest Quality Wall Art

What makes our prints and canvas panels so special

Latest pigment ink fine art printers1

Latest Giclee printing technology

We have invested in the latest wide format print technology to produce museum quality giclee prints utilising the highest quality pigment inks to give outstanding colour reproduction.

Museum quality Archival art papers2

Museum quality archival fine art papers

We print on the finest quality fine art papers with textured, smooth and lustre finishes for prints which last a lifetime. From aceo to 40x80 inch large format, every print has our lifetime quality guarantee.

Solid wood frames, cotton canvas3

Solid wood frames, cotton canvas

 All of the wood for our canvas panels and frames is responsibly sourced from managed forests. Our cotton canvas is completely seedless for the highest quality reproduction possible.

Picture Frames, Custom Made Print Frames - Lots of Sizes

Choose a custom frame

Have your choice of prints mounted and framed from our wide range of colours and styles.

Have your gift wrapped

Why not have us gift wrap your order and attach a personalised message to the recipient. Available for all orders. Each order is hand wrapped in high quality gift wrap with meatllic ribbon and bow. Your personalised message is printed on a card which is included with your order.

Gift Wrap Any Order - With Personalised Message


This was a present for my wife and she loves it. The quality is very good. Thanks for your excellent service.

Fantastic packaging and a stunning print. Thank you!

Great quality and a good idea to include a 'free gift' mini-pic to show what the other finishes are like.

Really excellent print quality! I have just had my print framed and it looks great thank you

This arrived quickly and is great quality, thank you! :)

My art print arrived quickly and in excellent condition! Very high quality print! Thank you!!

love my print! Very fast professional service Thank you very much

I ordered the canvas panel as a gift for my sister and she was delighted the canvas is really good quality and perfectly stretched. The finish on the back was really profesionally done too

Amazing print well printed and a reasonable price

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