Battle Field, sheet 6 of the cycle »Peasants War«, 1907

Line etching, drypoint, aquatint, sandpaper and soft ground with imprint of ribbed laid paper and Ziegler's transfer paper, Kn 100Xb

Käthe Kollwitz, Battle Field, sheet 6 of the cycle »Peasants War«, 1907, line etching, drypoint, aquatint, sandpaper and soft ground with imprint of ribbed laid paper and Ziegler's transfer paper, Kn 100 X b, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

After the outrage and uproar, the rebellion has been crushed. The mourners gather around the corpses on the battle field. As in the Weavers cycle, the battle scenes themselves in the »Peasants War« cycle have been blanked out and the opponent remains invisible.

In 1903, even before she received the commission for the work from the Verbindung für historische Kunst, Kollwitz began work on the first drafts for this stage in the narrative. It was planned as the last sheet in the cycle and is thus of a resultative character. The moral message of the event is graphically brought home to the observer.

Initially, the artist treated the scene in a narrational fashion, showing ›Black Anna‹ burying her fallen son on the battle field in the night. It was probably only in 1906 that Kollwitz gradually approached the final version. This version captures the moment when the light of the woman’s lantern falls on her dead son who is surrounded by a large number of other peasants who have fallen in battle.

studies

Käthe Kollwitz, Woman digging, 1903, charcoal on Ingres paper, NT 254, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Woman digging, 1903, charcoal on Ingres paper, NT 254

Käthe Kollwitz, Battlefield, c 1907, black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on grey-green laid paper, NT (411a), Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Battlefield, c 1907, black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on grey-green laid paper, NT (411a)

Käthe Kollwitz, Dead Boy, 1907, charcoal on white Ingres paper, NT 413, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Dead Boy, 1907, charcoal on white Ingres paper, NT 413

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