Photo by Allan Finkelman/©George Segal/VAGA, NY, NY

Lot awakens. According to Genesis, after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s two daughters convince themselves that there is “not a man on earth to consort with.” Fearing that they will be left childless, they ply their father with wine on two successive nights and each commits incest with him. Each time, the Bible records, “[Lot] did not know when she lay down or when she rose” (Genesis 19:33, 35).

Segal’s 1958 sculpture The Legend of Lot captures the moment—not described in the Bible—when Lot stumbles forward from his illicit bed, still half-drunk, protectively crossing his arms before his chest as he wakens to what he has done. His daughters are roughly sketched in the colorful backdrop from which Lot seems to have emerged.

One of Segal’s earliest plaster casts, Lot was created by draping burlap soaked in plaster on an armature created from chicken wire. The method he borrowed from department store mannequins; the materials were readily found on his family’s farm.