Europa and Calf

  • David Smith, Europa and Calf, 1956-1957, bronze, stone, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1978.30

Luce Center Label

David Smith poured and hammered drops of molten bronze to build up the abstract shapes in Europa and Calf. The sculpture’s title recalls the Greek myth of Europa, in which Zeus transformed himself into a white bull and kidnapped the young woman while she was gathering flowers. Although this sculpture is abstract, the overall shape resembles a horned creature standing on two legs with something in its arms. The clustered drops of bronze retain their molten shapes, as if the artist had just finished manipulating the hot metal to form this strange figure.

Luce Object Quote

“Sculpture is made by rough characters . . . who have passed through all polish and are back to the rough again.” Artist’s statement, 1959

Title
Europa and Calf
Artists
Date
1956-1957
On View
Dimensions
11 3/8 x 9 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (29.0 x 24.3 x 9.3 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Abstract
  • Mythology – classical – Europa
  • Figure female – nude
  • Animal – cattle
Object Number
1978.30
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI