A Jewish sculptor born in Lithuania, who took French and later American nationality, Lipchitz had moved away from Cubism when he modelled this piece, whose sensual rotundities are reminiscent of Picasso’s surrealist bacchanals and Minotaurs. In classical mythology, the Phoenician princess Europa was seduced by Jupiter, who took the form of a white bull and carried her on his back to the Mediterranean island of Crete. The artist drew inspiration for the aquatic forms from a Coptic bronze piece in his collection. Violence would follow seduction: in 1941 – the year he emigrated to the United States – Lipchitz made a work that portrays Europa stabbing a Hitlerian bull.
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