Charge, sheet 5 of the cycle »Peasants War«, 1902/1903

Line etching, drypoint, reservage and soft ground with imprint of two fabrics and Ziegler's transfer paper, Kn 70 VIII b

Käthe Kollwitz, Charge, sheet 5 of the cycle »Peasants War«, 1902/1903, line etching, drypoint, reservage and soft ground with imprint of two fabrics and Ziegler's transfer paper, Kn 70 VIII b, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

The peasants charge ahead and give vent to their outrage.

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At that time, I was reading Zimmermann’s book on the Peasants War where he mentions ‘Black Anna’, a peasant woman who spurred the men on. I then made the large sheet depicting the group of the charging peasants.«
Käthe Kollwitz, Diary Sheets and Letters, 1948

Käthe Kollwitz’ remarks refer to the ›Schwarze Hofmännin‹, one of the few historically documented women in the Peasants War, who blessed and spurred the peasants on before they stormed Weinsberg. By showing only the back of the ›Schwarze Hofmännin‹ in the »Charge« sheet, Kollwitz gave the observer the opportunity to identify with the character.

The earliest compositional study known shows that the artist – influenced by her stay in Paris – originally planned to execute this sheet as a colour lithograph, too.

Käthe Kollwitz herself referred to the sheet »Charge« as her »best work to date« in a letter from March 1903. In late 1902 she exhibited the etching, the first finished work in the cycle, at the Berlin Secession.

PREPARATORY DRAWING, STUDY

Käthe Kollwitz, Charge, 1901, black chalk, heightened in white, NT 187, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Charge, 1901, black chalk, heightened in white, NT 187

Käthe Kollwitz, Boy charging ahead towards the left, detail study for the etching »Charge«, 1902, charcoal, NT 195, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Boy charging ahead towards the left, detail study for the etching »Charge«, 1902, charcoal, NT 195

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