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Kathe Kolwitz Essay

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Introduction

K�the Schmidt Kollwitz was a German artist whose work has influenced many. Kollwitz's work has been influenced strongly by her life, the time that she lived and her drive to change the world. Throughout her life she saw much turmoil and hardship which she has used as the base for many of her works. K�the Kollwitz was born on the 8th of July, 1867 in K�nigsberg in Prussia which is now known as Kaliningrad, Russia. She was the daughter of a well off Mason who was very supportive of her passion for art. When she was 14 she began taking art lessons and in 1884 she enrolled at The Berlin School of Art. For a time she studied in Munich and then in 1891 she married Dr. Karl Kollwitz, from this marriage two sons were born. They moved to one of the poorest areas of Berlin where her husband practiced medicine, it was here that much of the inspiration for her works came. In 1898 Kollwitz started teaching at The School for Women Artists. On the 22nd of October, 1914 her son was killed at Flanders Field, her husband died of an illness in 1940 and in World War II her grandson was killed in 1942. ...read more.

Middle

Losing 2 million men in the war (www.historylearningsite.co.uk/wei1.htm) the work force suffered and the economy was poor. From 8.5% in 1929 to 29.9% in 1932, unemployment rose and poverty spread (www.moreorless.au.com/killers/hitler.html). Many of Kollwitz's work show the poverty that was going on at this time. After Hitler took over in 1933 life only became harsher, he even stated: "I shall shoot everyone who utters one word of criticism." (www.moreorless.au.com/killers/hitler.html) and he forced her to stop exhibiting her work. Under his rule anyone he believed should not live was killed, he wanted to exterminate Jewish people (who he blamed for their defeat in the war), Gypsies, Slavs, Homosexuals and Communists. He killed approximately six million Jews while in power (www.moreorless.au.com/killers/hitler.html). During these unfortunate political events Kollwitz tried to use her art to change people's views and change the outcomes, she believed that: "everything could be so beautiful if it were not for the insanity of war." (www.womeninworldhistory.com/lesson14.html). Her art pulled at the heart strings of the viewers so that they might see war, poverty and death as awful and try to stop them. The work 'Germanys Children Are Hungry' (1924) is a prominent example of Kollwitz's anti propaganda. First published as a poster, it is now a part of the National Gallery of Art collection. ...read more.

Conclusion

This has caused the grainy texture of the print. 'Woman with Dead Child' shows a seated woman clutching a dead child close to her. As in 'Germanys Children are Hungry' she used the element of tone to create a realistic image; however, she also used visual texture in this piece. The principle used is proportion. Kollwitz is showing the aggravations of poverty and death in this work. It invites viewers to be saddened by what they see and feel empathy for the woman, almost feeling as if they are there, or are in her situation. The woman is perhaps the child's mother or grandmother and these connections are common themes in K�the's works. The style Kollwitz uses is very realistic and quite raw. Lines not often strongly defined and they give the look of a sketch. This suits the work and gives a more human effect. Her work is fantastic with its powerful expression of emotion and truthful display of life in 1903. K�the Kollwitz used her life and surroundings as the emotional content for her art works. She took inspiration from her life, time and place so that she could fight propaganda and make the world a better place. Her works succeeded in presenting the truth and horror of Germany from 1867 to 1945. Germanys Children Are Hungry Woman with Dead Child ...read more.

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