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This work is particularly striking for its bold use of colour. Beuys often worked with natural or neutral-coloured materials and tended to use colour sparingly and deliberately. Early in his life, Beuys's parents had hoped that he would pursue a career in the natural sciences and although he chose art instead, science remained a lifelong interest. In 1949 he made a wooden model of a crystal, fascinated by its 'mathematical and platonic orders'. He continued to use the 'crystalline principle' as a symbol of reason, which, if not tempered by the warmth of intuition and emotion, would remain cold and lifeless.