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Allegorical motif

Part of the collection: Graphics of German speaking countries

Popularization note

Käthe Kollwitz's composition shows two women - an older woman sitting on the ground and a young woman supported by her. The older woman, the personification of Death, is hugging the head of the deceased lying on her hand. The young woman's open mouth seems to kiss the hand of the older woman-death. The form of the composition is taken from the Passion scene of the Mother of God mourning her Son, whose attribute is a crown of thorns lying next to the hand of Death. The depiction of an older person that bestows her affection on the deceased is a reminder that only death is true salvation, an act of grace for an ordinary person bearing their heavy fate.The graphic was made at the turn of 1920/1921 using the woodcut technique (from a block cut along the grain), printed on handmade paper and signed in pencil. The print comes from the portfolio Jahrbuch der Original-Graphik, III Jahrgang, Ausgabe C, edited by Hans Wolfgang Singer, published in 1921 in Berlin by Wohlgemuth&Lissner Kunstverlagsgesellschaft.Käthe Kollwitz, née Schmidt, was born in 1867 in Königsberg, East Prussia, and died in 1945 in Moritzburg, Saxony. She studied painting and drawing at the school run by the Berlin Artists' Association. She continued her painting studies in Munich. She was significantly influenced by Max Klinger's work Leben (Life) Opus VIII. She initially worked in her atelier in Königsberg. She married a doctor, Karl Kollwitz, and moved to Berlin. Her first graphic attempts in Königsberg culminated in the dramatic cycle Ein Weberaufstand (The Rise of the Weavers). Kollwitz was an extremely talented, innovative sculptor and graphic artist. Her expressionist works dealt with themes reflecting the condition of society, denouncing the injustice of capitalist relations, especially women's dramatic fate. They were also a protest against the war. In 1919, the artist was the first woman to be elected to the Prussian Academy of Arts.

Ewa Gwiazdowska

Information about the object

Information about this object

Author / creator

Kollwitz, Käthe (1892-1925) (grafik); Voigt, F. (?-19..) (drukarz)


cały obiekt: height: 340 mm, width: 460 mm

Object type


Creation time / dating

1920 — 1921

Creation / finding place

powstanie: Berlin (Niemcy)

Identification number


Location / status

object is not displayed now

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