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Death, from "The Weaver's Rebellion"

1897
9 5/16 x 7 11/16 in. (23.7 x 19.6 cm)

Käthe Kollwitz
German (1867 - 1945)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Lithograph
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1948.88
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Location: Not currently on view

This lithograph is [no. 2] from Kollwitz' earliest series of prints, "The Weavers' Rebellion" (1893-1898) which tells the tale of the weavers' suffering and their eventual uprising. Loosely based on works by Emile Zola and Gerhard Hauptmann, Kollwitz found inspiration in writers who shared her opinions on the subjugation of the working classes.

Death depicts the many hardships endured by the weavers that subsequently incited their rebellion. Perhaps due to poverty, poor working conditions, insufficient health care, or all of the above, the woman leaning against the wall quietly passes away. The skeleton represents Death. His touch delivers this woman to her final sleep. While husband and son are unaware of the interloper in their midst, the candle flame leans away from the chilling presence of Death. Kollwitz' use of a skeleton to symbolize Death was intended to help make her message as clear and direct as possible.

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