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Diary 3-4-15

March 4, 2015

Wed March 4, ’15  Dear Diary – I was near the Davidson Gallery this afternoon so I popped in to see (as best I could) their exhibit of Kollwitz prints. Much good work, of course, but three from the Peasant Wars were outstanding. One, “Raped” is of a woman lying dead in a field or forest (and her rape provoked the peasants to war). I’ve seen reproductions on line, but the piece itself is much more powerful. I think partly because the relatively small, rectangular scale is so right, but mainly because one has to look closely to discover the body—at first sight of the print, one comes upon the body, now a part of the earth—and understand what has happened. Then the pain starts, fused with the beauty of the artistry. The image perfectly expresses simultaneously the brutality, the dehumanization in the act; the suffering of the woman; and our compassion for her and sense of loss. The artistry is truly brilliant, and the image is so painful that it’s impossible to imagine hanging it on a wall in one’s home.

There was also actually a posthumous printing (1960s) of one within my price range, that I particularly liked because it matches my political mood, and I bought it (now I’ll start saving toward a frame). In “Sturm” we’re looking, left and middle, at the backs and some profiled faces of a group of armed peasants beating on the ornamental iron gate to a Rich Man’s house; and on the right, in profile, a woman is just arriving to join the revolt, carrying an infant and holding the hand of a crying four-year-old.

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