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Like 'Idol 2', also in the Tate's collection, this is one of a series of Idols made in the later half of the 1950s, when the artist was refining and streamlining images based on the human silhouette. Unlike 'Idol 2', where vestigal nose and breasts remain to identify the figure, in this work the features have been incised into the surface while the contours of the sculpture remain smooth and minimal. The simplified form suggests sculpture from a much earlier period, perhaps an object of veneration from an ancient civilization.

August 2004