This work is among the earliest sculptural experiments of the artist. It is the first sculpture known to us in which she conspicuously explored the aspect of ›all-round visibility‹ of a three-dimensional work.
In the older Kollwitz literature, this motif is generally associated with the solemn and sombre pictorial motif that the artist explored in 1915, after the death of her youngest son Peter who fell on the Western Front in Belgium. During that period, she began to formulate the motif of the »Sacrifice« which she used later in a different compositional version as the first sheet in her woodcut series »War«. The more recent Kollwitz research, by contrast, emphasises the more playful, even humorous aspect with the infant sticking out its bottom to the observer while clambering about its mother and curiously peeping across her shoulder to discover the world. There is evidence in support of either interpretation, depending upon the observer’s point of view.
Although the artist was evidently fond of this group – she had it with her at her last refuge in Moritzburg until her death – no bronze or zinc casts were made from it during her lifetime.