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Prometheus Strangling the Vulture

Begun 1943, cast 1952-1953
Jacques Lipchitz (American (born Lithuania), 1891–1973)
This sculpture is an adaptation of the story of the Titan Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. According to Greek mythology, Zeus, the king of the gods, was infuriated by Prometheus’s action, and he sent an eagle to pluck out the liver of the audacious rebel. In Jacques Lipchitz’s version, Prometheus turns on his tormentor (transposed to a vulture) and dominates it. The artist executed a monumental version of this work for the 1937 Paris World’s Fair as an allegory of resistance against fascism in Europe, with Prometheus wearing a Phrygian cap, the symbol of democracy. The Philadelphia Museum of Art commissioned this bronze cast of a later reprise of the same theme in 1952. Displayed on the steps of the museum, the triumph of Prometheus, whose gift of fire brought craft and civilization to humanity, stands for an ideal of genius and progress.

Object Details

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