Man with a Lamb

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973

Geography:
Made in France, Europe

Date:
1943-1944

Medium:
Bronze

Dimensions:
6 feet 7 1/2 inches × 28 inches (201.9 × 71.1 cm) Base: 30 x 13 inches (76.2 x 33 cm)

Copyright:
© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
Modern Art

Accession Number:
1958-155-1

Credit Line:
Gift of R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll, 1958

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Label:
Pablo Picasso created Man with a Lamb while living in German-occupied Paris during World War II. The idea for the sculpture began as an etching the artist made in 1942 of a man holding a bouquet of flowers on Bastille Day, July 14. In a series of subsequent drawings, Picasso transformed the flowers into an agitated animal in the arms of a man who seems stoic in his effort to hold his oversized burden. Man with a Lamb recalls early Christian images of the Good Shepherd, and Picasso's depiction of sacrifice and suffering, which he described as an expression of universal emotion, takes on heightened significance in the context of the world war in which it was created.

Additional information:
  • PublicationTwentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    From the pressure and isolation of living in German-occupied Paris during World War II, Picasso created art that was more self-conscious in its connection to the past and overtly concerned with art historical tradition. The fractured language of Cubism took on the expressiveness of medieval sculpture in his depictions of ravaged bodies, while he chose traditional memento mori objects such as skulls and candles for his still-life paintings. In his three-dimensional work, the inventor of assemblage returned to figurative sculpture and to modeling in plaster.

    His most important sculpture from this period, the majestic and monumental Man with a Lamb originated in an etching Picasso made in 1942 on Bastille Day, July 14, of a man carrying a bouquet of flowers. In dozens of drawings the artist transformed the tranquil flowers into an agitated animal in the man's arms, making an image that recalls early Christian depictions of the Good Shepherd. Picasso emphasized the craning of the lamb s neck and the effort of the man to subdue the creature by holding its legs, preserving these motifs when he created the sculpture in clay in February or March 1943.

    The tense struggle and physical energy captured by the drawings are internalized in Man with a Lamb, which projects a solemn and introspective quietude. The lamb, with its mouth open and one leg dangling, becomes an oversized burden in the arms of the standing man, seemingly stoic in the exertion of strength required to hold the animal. The surface is nervous and visually active, recording the construction of the sculpture piece by piece from damp clay. The spirit of this initial process is retained in the bronze version, which was cast after the liberation of Paris. Picasso's depiction of sacrifice and suffering, which he described as an expression of universal emotion, takes on heightened significance in light of the worldwide war that was being fought when he created it. Twentieth Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2000), p. 79.

Provenance

With Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Paris; with Curt Valentin, New York; sold to R. Sturgis Ingersoll (1891-1973), Philadelphia, September 1, 1952 [1]; gift of R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll to PMA, 1958. 1. See letter from Ingersoll to Anne d'Harnoncourt, September 3, 1968 (PMA archives, copy in curatorial file). Ingersoll states that he purchased the sculpture "through Curt Valentin and Kahnweiler".


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