Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

Cyclops

1957

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 1111 x 305 x 203 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1958
Reference
T00225

Display caption

In classical mythology, the Cyclops was an immensely strong giant with a single eye in the centre of his forehead. The skin of this lumbering bronze figure is imprinted with broken machine-parts and other found debris. Paolozzi made it by pressing pieces of metal into a bed of moist clay, and then pouring molten wax into the clay mould. He constructed the model from these sheets of wax forms and finally cast it in bronze. Its pierced armour and dilapidated state has been seen as an ironic comment on the condition of man in the nuclear age.

Gallery label, September 2016

Catalogue entry

T00225 CYCLOPS 1957

Inscr. ‘E Paolozzi 57’ on base.
Bronze, 43 3/4×12×8 (110×30·5×20·5).
Purchased from the artist through the Hanover Gallery (Knapping Fund) 1958.
Exh: British Council, Contemporary British Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings, British Embassy, Brussels, summer 1958 (18); Hanover Gallery, November–December 1958 (10, repr. on cover).
Repr: Viewpoint, 1962, No.1, p.6; John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1962, p.272.

A unique cast from a wax ‘collage’ built up from casts of various mechanical and other objects.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

Audio

Late At Tate: Toby Treves

Art historian Toby Treves discusses the two Paolozzi sculptures Cyclops (1957) and their brutal anti-aesthetic in this room of work ...