Sir Jacob Epstein

Sun God (verso: Primeval Gods)

1910, 1931–1933

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Hoptonwood stone
Dimensions
Object: 2134 x 1980 x 355 mm
Collection
Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
On long term loan
Reference
L03237

Display caption

The two sides of this sculpture were carved at different times. Sun God was carved in 1910 when Epstein and Eric Gill were planning what Gill described as a ‘sort of twentieth-century Stonehenge’ of monumental sculpture at Asheham House, Sussex. Probably intended for this unrealised project, it is one of several works influenced by Egyptian art, exploring the power of the sun. In 1931 Epstein carved Primeval Gods on the reverse. Although the massive square shouldered figure is inspired by African sculpture, Epstein’s work in the 1930s also shows his engagement with younger British sculptors, including Moore and Hepworth.

Gallery label, September 2016

Audio

Sun God by Epstein (Mikei)

The weight of this sculpture was an installation challenge. Art handler Mikei Hall explains