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Bees were among the animals in which Beuys was most interested and they appear in his work through his life. While at art school he produced a series of drawings called 'Queen Bees', but his interest may have begun after reading the philosopher Rudolf Steiner's 1923 lecture on bees in which Steiner compared the functioning of a beehive to human society. Beuys viewed bees as a symbol of socialism due to the way in which they live and work together; he was also fascinated by the production of honey. The scientific apparatus featured in this drawing reappears in other works by Beuys of the mid-to late 1950s.