In 1917 Picasso traveled to Rome to design sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s famed Ballets Russes. Deeply impressed by the ancient and Renaissance art of that city, he began painting monumental figures inspired by antiquity. His new classical style was influenced by the finely modeled odalisques of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and the late, oddly proportioned female nudes of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Mother and Child was also inspired by Picasso’s own life. Just three years earlier he had married Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova, and in 1921 their son Paolo was born. Between 1921 and 1923 he produced at least twelve works on the subject of mothers and children, returning to a theme that he had explored during his Blue Period. But whereas those figures are frail and anguished, his classical-period figures, with their sculptural modeling and solidity, are majestic in proportion and feeling. Here an infant sits on the mother’s lap and reaches up to touch her. The woman, dressed in a Grecian gown, gazes intently at her child. Behind them stretches a simplified background of sand, water, and sky. Picasso’s treatment of the pair is not sentimental, but the relationship expresses a serenity and stability that characterized his own life at this time.