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Old 05-05-2005, 01:16 PM
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oddist oddist is offline
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Lipchitz Rabbit or Duck Illusion

I just learned that the Lipchitz sculpture, Mother and Child II, of 1941, has the dual image of a mother with child around her neck and the head of a bull.

Besides the deeper meaning behind this double image does anyone know of any other sculpture with dual images?
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"Important artists are innovators whose work changes the practices of their successors; important works of art are those that embody these innovations."
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:20 PM
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Re: Lipchitz Rabbit or Duck Illusion

Not offhand, and I'll evidently be the first to ask how you saw the second interpretation. I can see it now you have said this, but the first interpretation is far stronger and I doubt I ever would have seen the second without this suggestion.
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Old 05-06-2005, 09:38 AM
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Re: Lipchitz Rabbit or Duck Illusion

Fritchie,

Sorry for not including the reference. I just started reading about Lipchitz and thought others might already be aware of this and possibly other instances of dual images.

I too was unaware of the image of the bull until I read this however my wife, not wearing her glasses, first saw the bull in the photo.

The information I got is from “Jacques Lipchitz and Philadelphia” by Michael R. Taylor, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The description is quite enlightening as well as introducing an alternate consideration of the “Torso” in sculpture.

I quote from pages 23-25:

The monumental sculpture depicts a crippled woman with her arm upraised in pitiful supplication, a pose that recalls the ancient prayer gesture known as the orans, while her child desperately clings to her neck. It was only after Lipchitz had finished the work that he realized that the woman, with her truncated, legless torso, was almost certainly related to an unconscious recollection of an extraordinary spectacle he had witnessed while visiting his brothers and sisters in Moscow in 1935: “I was in Russia and one night, when it was dark and raining, I heard the sound of a pathetic song. I tried to trace it and came to a railroad station where there was a beggar woman, a cripple without legs, on a cart, who was singing, her hair all loose and her arm outstretched. I was terribly touched by this image, but I only realized years later, when I made the Mother and Child, that it was this image that had emerged from my subconscious.”

In the finished sculpture the legless beggar woman in the Moscow train station has been rendered yet more abject by the removal of her hands. According t the artist, the hands were rounded off in order to “liberate the composition from all bounds and more clearly emphasize the tragedy of the Mother in contrast to the child embracing her---symbolizing victory for triumphant life.” The stumplike arms, which the artist related to the partial figures of Rodin, were also associated in his mind with the horns of a bull, a subsidiary image in the work whose head and staring eyes are formed by the child’s projecting legs and the woman’s breasts, nipples, and muscular torso. This transformation from the human into the animal gives the work an aggressive quality while also infusing it with a sense of mystery and power.
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