The subject of this painting can easily be traced back to the Cubists. A version by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), 1910, pictures the subject in monochrome. The visual planes blend and collapse, combining abstract frontal and profile views. Borduas does not go quite as far. He poses his wife, Gabrielle, and—by exposing her breasts—reveals the underlying erotic subject of the theme: a woman awaking to love by a man’s caresses, just as a mandolin emits music when it is strummed.