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Prometheus strangles the vulture sent by the gods to punish him for bringing fire to mankind. For Lipchitz, this symbolised democratic freedom at a time of totalitarianism. The sketchy handling of this watercolour anticipates the bold carving of the sculpture of Prometheus that Lipchitz created for the 1937 International Exhibition. The nine-metre-high plaster monument was branded 'Bolshevik' by a right-wing newspaper campaign and it was destroyed in 1938.

August 2004