About this artwork
This drawing is a study of several different creatures. On the left are the long legs of a bird, paired with strange rectangular wings which have a mechanistic look. The shape at the top is a schematic drawing of a bird's body with a horizontal line to represent outstretched wings. Extending below the body is a long shape which looks like the segmented body of a bee. To the bottom right is a pair of swans. Beuys's interest in the swan can be traced back to his childhood, when he was told medieval legends involving swans and could see the sculpture of a golden swan on the roof of a castle from his bedroom window.
- title: INTELLIGENTIA
- accession number: AR00668
- artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Work on paper
- date created: 1965
- measurements: 25.40 x 25.60 cm
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © DACS 2016.
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
German artist Beuys believed that art was integral to everyday life. His own art was shaped by an experience early in his life. As a Luftwaffe pilot during the war, Beuys was shot down over the Crimea and was saved by nomadic Tartars. Barely alive, he was wrapped in felt and fat which preserved his body heat, and taken to safety on sledges pulled by dogs. This incident, and these particular elements, informed much of his art, which has a redemptive, mystical and ritualistic character. Central to his work were his 'Actions', which involved teaching, audience discussion and performance. The recurrent themes were social and political. Associated with the ecological movement - he was a founder member of the Green Party - he also had a strong influence on German politics.