Curator's comments: Audio (1:33)
Lucretia
1941
Chaim Gross

lithium stone (lepidolite)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,
Smithsonian Institution Gift of the artist through the
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1974 With permission from the
Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation

Like many of Gross's stone carvings, this head retains the character of the rough block out of which the face appears to evolve. Lithium stone, technically called lepidolite, is a soft, easily carved stone, composed mostly of purple mica. The unusual color probably attracted Gross, but it is not widely used by other sculptors.

Lucretia was a Roman matron in ancient times, who was raped and then committed suicide because of her dishonor. She is represented here as a childlike individual whose features are not fully formed.



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