Tantalus is a creation by Serrano from the series Irons (Hierros), the first series Pablo Serrano developed following his return to Spain. To create this piece he became completely immersed in informalist abstraction. It was displayed as part of Irons and Bronzes of Pablo Serrano (Hierros y Bronces de Pablo Serrano), the artist's first individual exhibition in Spain, held in the Saint Catalina of Ateneo Room (Sala Santa Catalina del Atenuo) in Madrid from January 8 to February 9, 1957. In this exhibition, Serrano set his desire for order in chaos in motion through a combination of stones, iron remnants, and other scrap metal. Even though he did not attempt to achieve verisimilitude in his pieces by using a model, he did reflect on the myth of Tantalus and its iconography when constructing this piece. Drawing upon formal abstraction, Serrano recreates the profiles of the most important elements of the myth in this piece: the tree top, the figure tied to its trunk and, above all, the piece that originally hung from the top part and which is a clear allusion to the fruits which Tantalus could never grasp. However, it must be noted that the piece today does not appear as it did originally, as several of the original elements that made up the piece were lost before it arrived at the museum. This is something that occurred with other pieces of this series due to the delicacy of the works, as well as being subjected to many transfers throughout their existence.


  • Title: Tantalus
  • Creator: Pablo Serrano
  • Date: 1956
  • Physical Dimensions: 530 x 195 x 160 mm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Gobierno de Aragón
  • External Link: CERES MCU
  • Medium: Welded iron
  • Photograph: Selenio fotografía
  • Cultural context: Spanish art from the second half of the 20th century. Spanish Informalism.

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps