Kaethe Kolwitz: The Manifesto And The Womb

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KAETHE KOLLWITZ: THE MANIFESTO AND THE WOMB Throughout the history of modern art, with few exceptions, the contribution of women in the realm has always been dwarfed by the men. For many people with a deep interest in the Expressionist movement, Kaethe Kollwitz is one of those exceptions. Her prints and illustrations have been hailed for both their complexity in technique and strong emotive renderings of her subjects. Kollwitz is best associated with socialist political leanings and a sympathy towards the working classes that she chooses to manifest in her work like with the Weavers Revolt cycle. With the advent of World War I and the loss of her son, Peter, to the battlefield, we begin to see someone using her art to express the struggle …show more content…
A greater influence on her life and outlook was through her father and brother who would introduce her to the writings of Goethe, Freiligrath, and similar thinkers whose social and political philosophies espoused a more liberal way of thinking about society and a more empathetic outlook towards the struggles of the working class (McCausland 21 and Kollwitz 38-39). She dedicated much of her early career to experimentation with variants of different etching and printing techniques. Many of these early plates and prints have been lost so aside from a few sketches, we don’t get a visual sense of that development until 1893 where she begins work on studies for Ein Weberaufstand (McCausland …show more content…
The first plate, Misery, shows a woman looking over a child whose pallor leads us to assume that he has died. In Death, a skeleton has one hand on a woman’s shoulder, coaxing her to join it in the afterlife, and the other rests on top of an overturned bowl. The table underneath the bowl is clean, showing that it is empty and has been for some time explaining that the cause of death for the woman and probably the child in Misery was from a lack of food. A single candle illuminates the face of the woman’s child whose expression is sad but also resigned, as if to say “this is my fate too.” The mood changes in Consultation from grief to something more decisive. Three men are huddled together at the end of a table, their features obscured so we can’t tell their expressions or even who they are but we know that they are discussing something of great secrecy. These men are surrounded by shadow, but rather than overwhelming them in its darkness like it did to the figures in the first two prints, it’s cradling, protecting, them and their secret from the light of discovery by the

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