For this work from his later career, Leon Golub chose a subject both personal and symbolic. In Greek mythology, Zeus found the Titan Prometheus guilty of the crime of stealing fire, and condemned him to the eternal torment of having his liver torn from his body by an eagle. In Golub's painting, Prometheus is a pathetic ruffian bemoaning his fate in modern-day language that evokes the world of media sensationalism. For Golub, Prometheus is more than simply the archetypal anti-hero. As a kind of agent "provocateur" and rival of the omnipotent Zeus, he is emblematic of the artist himself; the pathos with which he is represented here may be Golub's reference, in old age, to his own diminishing powers.
Materialsacrylic on linen
302.3 x 246.4 cm unstretched