The Destroyed City

The Destroyed City
, 1947-1951

Bronze, high 650cm
City of Rotterdam

Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) Russia – France

Zadkine, a Cubist sculptor, migrated to France as a young man. He began to criticize the war after he fled to the United States in 1941; he created sculpture to represent the panic of prisoners and the terrifying force of the atomic bomb.

While in Holland in 1946, Zadkine witnessed first hand the destruction of the city of Rotterdam, which had been bombed in May 1940. He created two pieces to express his horror. Inquiries from citizens who saw his work led to a commission from the city to commemorate the bombing. Unlike traditional memorials, which focus more on triumph or glory, the artist focuses on the terror. The figure’s mouth is wide open in a voiceless shriek, his tortuous arms thrown up to the sky.

What is more fitting for a memorial, a piece which focuses on triumph or one, which deals with the horror of an event?



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