The Greek myth telling of the seduction of the Phoenician princess Europa by Zeus in the guise of a white bull has been a popular theme in art through the ages. Manship produced several variations on the Europa theme from the early 1920s to the mid-1930s. In this version he shows Europa raising her left arm over her head to embrace the head of the bull lying behind her. The bull affectionately nuzzles and licks her arm. The simplified forms of the work include few details and a balanced interlocking of the figures; the crisply articulated silhouettes characteristic of Manship's earlier figural groups are more compacted here. The artist deliberately burnished areas of the green-brown patina to create highlights, which emphasize his preoccupation with geometric volume over linear decoration.
Marking: Foundry mark (back, lower edge): ROMAN BRONZE WORKS N–Y–
Walter M. Carlebach, New York (until d. 1969; his bequest to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "20th Century Accessions, 1967–1974," March 7–April 23, 1974, no catalogue (unnumbered checklist).
Queens, N.Y. Queens Museum. "The Artist's Menagerie: Five Millennia of Animals in Art," June 29–August 25, 1974, no. 126.
Huntington, N. Y. Heckscher Museum of Art. "Art Deco and Its Origins," September 22–November 3, 1974, no. 121.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Subjects and Symbols in American Sculpture: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 11–August 20, 2000, no catalogue.
Edwin Murtha. Paul Manship. New York, 1957, p. 163, no. 169, pl. 31.
Harry Rand. Paul Manship. Exh. cat., National Museum of American Art. Washington, D. C., 1989, pp. 61, 63–67, figs. 53, 54, 56 (National Museum of American Art collection).
Joan M. Marter inAmerican Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Thayer Tolles. Vol. 2, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born between 1865 and 1885. New York and New Haven, 2001, pp. 762–63, no. 383, ill.