From first to last, Picassos prime subject was the human figure and portraiture remained a favourite genre. B y 1900 Picasso was producing portraits of astonishing variety and thereafter they reflected the full range of his innovative styles symbolist, cubist, neoclassica l, surrealist, expressionist. For all his radical originality, Picasso remained in constant dialogue with the art of the past and his portraits often alluded to canonical masterpieces, chosen for their appropriateness to the looks and personality of his subject. When Picasso depicted people in his intimate circle, the nature of his bond with them inevitably influenced his interpretation. T he focus of this book is not, however, Picassos life story but his creative process, and, although following a broadly chronological path, its chapters are structured thematically.