Joseph Beuys

Monument to the Stag

1959

Original title
Hirschdenkmal
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 429 x 395 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
AR00111

Online caption

Although the imagery of this drawing is difficult to decipher, the stag is an animal which held a particular mystical power for Beuys. The artist would refer to himself as the 'stag leader'. With his work steeped in Germanic tradition and legend, Beuys's use of the stag references the animal as the traditional emblem of the Northern forest, as well as its role as a spirit guide in Celtic mythology and the crucified Christ in Christianity. The stag is a symbol of masculine power, but also has a feminine aspect in the annual shedding of its antlers, symbolising fertility.

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