• 300 x 69 x 98 cm
  • 1955-1956
  • Elm wood
  • Musée Zadkine
  • Garden studio

This large figure of Prometheus is one of the very last large wood sculptures produced by Zadkine. It was carved in a block of elm wood, - a species which Zadkine particularly liked and which today has almost disappeared. The thickness of the log is evident in the carving of its bulk, and textural effects are obtained through the visible traces of tools: straight, semi-flat and hollow gouges, and hatchet.

A very subtle play on colours is also evident. A fine, light layer of white has been applied to the surface, and is particularly visible in the hollows and on the base. Although the elm wood has a pinkish aspect, the sapwood area (corresponding to the most recent areas of growth) gives the upper part of the flame a yellow colour. Prometheus, as represented by Zadkine, has just stolen fire in order to give it to man. The flame which he clutches against his chest reaches up to his face. The neoclassicism of the theme - which relates to Greek mythology - and the treatment of the draperies in large scrolls – reminiscent of ancient tunics - are combined here with the direct carving of the wood. Zadkine returned periodically to working with wood, and to his cabinetmaker.