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Die Gefangenen (The prisoners) / Bauernkrieg (The peasants' revolt)

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1949,0411.3931

  • Title (object)

    • Die Gefangenen (The prisoners)

    Title (series)

    • Bauernkrieg (The peasants' revolt)
  • Description

    Bound prisoners standing, crowded within roped-off area; 3rd state. 1908 Etching with tonal textures and engraving, printed in dark brown and overworked with grey wash on thick white wove paper

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1908
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 327 millimetres
    • Width: 423 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Signed by artist in pencil, lower right of plate-mark. Annotated in pencil "46093", lower centre, and "III", lower right.
  • 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

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  • Bibliography

    • Knesebeck 2002 102.III bibliographic details
    • Klipstein 1955 98.III bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (German XIXc Mounted Atlas)

  • 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:...

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1949

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1949,0411.3931

Bound prisoners standing, crowded within roped-off area; 3rd state. 1908 Etching with tonal textures and engraving, printed in dark brown and overworked with grey wash on thick white wove paper

Recto

Bound prisoners standing, crowded within roped-off area; 3rd state. 1908 Etching with tonal textures and engraving, printed in dark brown and overworked with grey wash on thick white wove paper

Image description

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Object reference number: PPA39108

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