Joseph Beuys

Blacksmith II

1958

Original title
Schmied II
Medium
Graphite on card
Dimensions
Support: 210 x 297 mm
Acquisition
ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Reference
AR00108

Online caption

In this pencil drawing, we see a statuesque male figure walking purposefully and holding a hammer, the tool of his trade. Beuys had a cousin who was a blacksmith and the artist showed an early interest in the trade, learning how to cast and forge iron when he was young. However, in later years, he would undoubtedly have been interested in the science behind the process and the changes that takes place in the metal to allow it to be shaped and formed. Blacksmiths appear in the legends of many cultures. Widely knowledgeable on legend and folklore, Beuys would have been aware of the Roman God Vulcan and the blacksmith Wayland Smith from Germanic legend.

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