- Museum number
Object: Beim Dengeln (Whetting the scythe)
Series: Bauernkrieg (The peasants' revolt)
Woman holds scythe close to her face as she sharpens the blade; 3rd state. 1905
Etching with tonal textures and engraving, printed in black on thick cream wove paper and overworked in parts with pencil
- Production date
Height: 295 millimetres
Width: 290 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the third 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 print is the only recorded impression of the third state. Kollwitz subsequently added layer upon layer of tonal texture, working the plate through several states.
Text from Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no. 36:
'This print, like many of Kollwitz's most important plates, went through many successive elaborations and reworkings before she was satisfied with the effect. In the third state three different layers of tone can be distinguished. Along the left margin can be seen the overlapping contours of two applications of a stipplelike grain, probably transferred from an Ingres paper through a soft-etching ground. The third grain (seen most clearly along the bottom margin, next to the signature) comes from a mechanically ruled screen, and was added in the third state (Berlin has an impression of the second state which lacks this grain). By the eighth state many new layers of tone had been added to build up the heavy final texture, in addition to the major alteration in the sixth state with the change in the right hand. The possible corrections indicated in pencil on this impression of the eighth state were never carried out, and in this form the plate, with added lettering, was published in 1905.
Kollwitz worked on the plate at the same time as two related compositions, 'Woman with scythe' and 'Inspiration' (Klipstein 89 and 91), and they develop from the same preparatory drawings. The drawing used as the basis for the first state must be the one now in San Francisco (Nagel 397). The arm added in the sixth state is the subject of two later studies (Nagel 398 and 399).'
Additional lit.: F. Carey and M. Egremont, 'Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz' (Birmingham, Ikon, 2017), fig. 44.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984/5 Sept.-Jan., BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', cat.36
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number