Venus Caryatid



  • 168 x 40 x 35 cm
    Achat de la Ville de Paris sur le legs Valentine Prax
  • 1914
  • Pear wood
  • Inv. MZS 13
  • Room 1

This Venus was sculpted by Zadkine in the immediate post- war period at the time of his friendship with Modigliani. This motif of a woman with lifted arms - whether entitled Venus, the Water Carrier or Caryatid, recurs as a leitmotiv in Zadkine’s works - both sculpted and graphic – during the 1920s.

It was the time when Zadkine, turning his back on Cubism, re-engaged with sculpture of a more primitivist style. This primitivism is displayed in the disproportionate nature of some of the body parts of this Venus in pear wood. In this composition as in many others, Zadkine ostensibly distances himself from the classic canons. The legs are massive, attachments are absent. The rough-hewn tree trunk remains visible at the base of the composition as if to declare its genealogical affiliation in some way with nature and its only partial association with the world of form.