- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Gerhard Marcks, German (Berlin, Germany 1889 - 1981 Burgbrohl, Germany)
- Prometheus Bound II
- Other Titles
- Original Language Title: Gefesselter Prometheus II
- Work Type
- Physical Descriptions
- 78.1 x 51.5 x 46 cm (30 3/4 x 20 1/4 x 18 1/8 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- inscription: on base, behind proper right heel, in artist's hand: artist's monogram
- State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
- Standard Reference Number
- Rudloff 522
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Museum Purchase, by exchange
- © Gerhard-Marcks-Stiftung, Bremen, Germany / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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Label Text: Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55 , written 2018
Prometheus, the mythical creator of mankind, is portrayed in legend as a hero who rebels against an overwhelming authority: after shaping the first humansfrom clay, he brings them fire, defying the will of the gods. His punishment, meted out by Zeus, is to be bound
to a rock where his liver is eaten by an eagle—a torture repeated for eternity as the immortal’s liver regenerates each night. Prometheus Bound II is the final work in Marcks’s series depicting the figure and the only version made after the war; between 1943 and 1944, the artist made two in plaster, both of which were destroyed in bombings. Here cast in more enduring bronze, the broken hero may be understood as a statement about Marcks’s own fate or the situation of artists in general during the Nazi era. It is also exemplary of the
generalized and often ambiguous depictions of the period that relied on mythological themes and figures.
- Publication History
Gerhard Marcks, exh. cat., Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, 1953), p. 16 + 22, cat. no. 37, b/w ill.
Charles L. Kuhn, German Expressionism and Abstract Art, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1957), cat. no. 120, b/w ill.
Brandt Aymar, The Young Male Figure, Crown Publishers Inc. (New York, NY, 1970), p. 217, b/w ill.
Anneliese Harding, German Sculpture in New England Museums, Goethe Institute (Boston, MA, 1972), p. 20, repr. p. 78 as fig. 143
Günter Busch, Gerhard Marcks. Das plastische Werk, Propyläen Verlag, Berlin (Berlin, Germany, 1977), p. 348, no. 522, b/w ill.
Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 66, repr. pp. 66-67
Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 88, ill.
Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 78
Lynette Roth and Ilka Voermann, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2018), pp. 258-260, cat. no. 30.1, ill. (color)
- Exhibition History
Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980
German Sculpture, 1500 - 1960: A New Installation, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 09/05/1984 - 12/31/1984
German Sculpture from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 01/21/1986 - 03/10/1986
Making Myth Modern: Primordial Themes in German 20th-Century Sculpture, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 07/14/2007 - 12/30/2007
32Q: 1510 Busch Winter garden, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/27/2015 - 01/12/2016
Private Practice, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/27/2015 - 01/12/2016
Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/09/2018 - 06/03/2018
- Subjects and Contexts
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