Ava swims lazily in an expanse of sparkling azure. The water is calm but disturbed by a gentle mist and she appears almost weightless amidst the ripples. A gentle serpentine shape is suggested by the curve of her body. A blackness at the top of the image implies a bottomless abyss. Only her hands, part of an arm, and her face break the surface. Her hair drifts out in reddish-brown spirals. With no horizon, sky, or land in sight, her location is ambiguous.
In the second century, women bathed together nude at the Roman Baths of Caracalla. Swimming in public bath houses was common in ancient Rome. By the mid second century men and women’s bathing was no longer segregated, a development that changed the atmosphere in a predictable way.