- Museum number
Object: Die Gefangenen (The prisoners)
Series: Bauernkrieg (The peasants' revolt)
Bound prisoners standing, crowded within roped-off area; 3rd state, spring 1908. 1908
Line etching, drypoint, sandpaper and soft ground with the imprint of fabric and Ziegler's transfer paper, printed on copperplate paper and touched with black wash
- Production date
Height: 327 millimetres
Width: 423 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the seventh and final plate from Kollwitz's series 'Bauernkrieg' (The Peasants' Revolt), a cycle based on the Peasants' Revolt of 1522-5, which occurred in Germany during the Protestant Reformation. The Verbindung für historische Kunst (Society for Historical Art) commissioned the series, then published and distributed the seven plates to its members in 1908. This is the only recorded impression of the third state.
Text from Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no.40
The drawing used for preparing the print is certainly Nagel 430 (Kunstmuseum, Basel), in which new squares of paper have been stuck on in two places to allow corrections. Nagel also catalogues a large number of preparatory studies (425-40). These show that her son Peter was the model for the boy slumped against the rope, centre right.
The Kupferstichkabinett in West Berlin possesses impressions of the first two states of this print. The first shows a combination of stippling (perhaps from the 'geleimtes Kornpapier') and etched lines; a piece of paper carrying a drawn correction is stuck over the head of the third figure from the right in the foreground; and there is a brown wash over many of the figures which was used to define areas for the added grains in second state. These are of two kinds: a textile texture over most of the clothing and some of the flesh of the prisoners, and a faint mechanical grain over some of the backs at the right. The correction indicated on the added piece of paper has been affected by dint of vigorous burnishing of which the marks are easily visible. A series of pinholes at the top of the first state impression shows that Kollwitz stuck it on the wall in front of her as a guide while she worked on the plate.
Keith Hartley has observed that the source of the heroic, muscular poses of the prisoners is to be found in the sculpture of Rodin, whom Kollwitz had visited in Paris in 1904. He compares in particular Rodin's 'Burghers of Calais' (see 1981 Kettle's Yard exhibition catalogue, p.31).
For a discussion of the series see text from Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, nos.34-40; F. Carey and M. Egremont, 'Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz' (Birmingham, Ikon, 2017), no. 35.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984-1985 Sep-Jan, BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', cat.40
1995 Jan-Mar, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gallery, Käthe Kollwitz
1999 Aug-Oct, Bolton Museum & AG, Expressionism in Germany
1999-2000 Nov-Jan, Hull, Ferens Art Gallery, Expressionism in Germany
2000 Feb-Mar, Preston, Harris Mus & AG, Expressionism in Germany
2004-2005 Dec-Feb, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Faces in the Crowd:...
2005 Mar-Jul, Turin, Castello di Rivoli, Faces in the Crowd:...
2017 13 Sep-26 Nov, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2017-2018 15 Dec-11 Mar, Young Gallery, Salisbury, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2018 24 Mar-17 Jun, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2018 30 Jun-30 Sep, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2019-20, 2 September-12 January, London, BM, G90, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number