Einstein by Epstein

David Hockney seems to be everywhere at the moment. His major exhibition at the Royal Academy has just ended and he was also in the news recently because he’s just completed a portrait on his iPad of Stephen Hawking in celebration of the latter’s 70th birthday. Visitors to the Science Museum, who commissioned it, can see the work. But anyone who doesn’t live in or near to London will probably be disappointed as, “due to copyright restrictions”, it’s not been posted on the web.

Never mind. If I want to see an artistic tribute to a great scientist then I can pop along to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool to look at Jacob Epstein’s bust of Einstein.

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Einstein sat for the portrait at a Cromer refugee camp in 1933 after he had  fled from Nazi Germany. I think it really captures how the great man looked with his wild hair and intense expression – the popular perception of the stereotypical scientist!

Speaking about the sculpture, Epstein is reported to have said

Einstein appeared dressed very comfortably in a pullover with his wild hair floating on the wind. His glance contained a mixture of the humane, the humorous and the profound. This was a combination that delighted me. He resembled the ageing Rembrandt.”

Other casts of the bust are held by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, Huddersfield Art Gallery, The Tate, The Science Museum and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. And pictures are available on the web, including the Walker’s website. So there’s no need to traipse down to London to see it.

The Fitzwilliam have a Fact sheet about the sculpture which can be downloaded here.