Peter de Francia born 1921
T04143 Prometheus Offering a Torch
Charcoal on paper 559 x 736 (22 x 29)
Inscribed ‘de Francia 83' b.l.
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Lit: Timothy Hyman, ‘The Drawings of Peter de Francia' in Peter de Francia, Painter and Professor, an Anthology, exh. cat. Camden Arts Centre 1987, p.15
De Francia has made two series of drawings of classical subjects, one of the Minotaur (from 1979) and one of Prometheus (from 1982). His source for both stories was principally Robert Graves' ‘Greek Myths' (1955), and his treatment was partly inspired by Daumier's lithographs of classical gods.
In this drawing Prometheus brings the fire that he has stolen from the gods to earth where people are either indifferent or too shocked to know what to do. Prometheus is often taken as a personification of science, finding useful but dangerous forces, and de Francia was interested in the ambiguity of Prometheus' position, as either a great liberator of the people on earth, or a bandit who stole something that he should not possess.
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.137