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Jacques Lipchitz, Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II (1944/1953)


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
"I wished to say to men, 'If you desire to continue freely in your creative work, it will be necessary for you to enter the struggle and conquer the forces of darkness that are about to invade the world.'" --Jacques Lipchitz

The alcove at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden's east edge is dominated by Jacques Lipchitz's bronze sculpture Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II. It was inspired by the classical Greek myth Prometheus and the Vulture in which Prometheus stole fire from the gods as a gift for mankind. The god Zeus was so angry he punished Prometheus by binding him to a cliff for eternity, where every day a vulture devoured his liver. However, in this sculpture, Lipchitz portrays Prometheus triumphing over the vulture, strangling the bird with one hand and holding his claws in the other. For the artist, this was a symbol of human progress and determination and of democracy triumphing over fascism. The original version of Prometheus Strangling the Vulture was a 30-foot work cast in plaster for the Paris International Exposition in 1937. In 1943, the Brazilian government asked Lipchitz to sculpt another version of the work for the Ministry of Education and Health building in Rio de Janeiro. The Walker sculpture is based on the second version.

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Type: Commentary, curriculum resource
Source: Text for Jacques Lipchitz, Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II (1944/1953), from the curriculum guide So, Why Is This Art?, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2002.
Rights: Copyright 2002 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009