Joseph Beuys

Monument to the Stag

1958–85

Original title
Hirschdenkmal
Medium
Wood, iron and copper
Dimensions
Displayed (approximate): 925 x 1280 x 2575 mm
Overall display dimensions variable
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
AR00602

Display caption

Since childhood, Beuys had been interested in northern European folklore, in which certain animals are endowed with mystical power. The stag had particular significance for him as the mythical guardian of the forest. The yearly shedding and regrowth of its antlers were a potent symbol of rebirth and renewal. In this work Beuys brings together iron – whose cold strength and durability he associated with masculinity and war – with copper, one of the softest metals which he associated with femininity.

Gallery label, July 2010

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