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Kathe Kollwitz: Mother and Dead Child Structural Analysis

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It has been done by engraving in the image of a mother and a deceased child, then colouring it with a variety of greys, whites, and blacks. Kathe Kollwitz uses an etching technique and adds a variety of tone, shadows and bold imprints, to create a bold, powerful and socially stimulating effect. She adds a variety of dark, strong lines and leaves some spaces lighter. The lighter colours contrast with the darker colours, which makes it stand out and reveal the areas of most light hitting the image. Kathe Kollwitz has firstly engraved the image shown onto a form of material-either wood, metal or lino.

She then colours in the picture different shades to divulge more emotion and influence. The image then gets printed onto the paper or canvas. “Mother and dead child” was created in the German Expressionism art movement. From the top of the painting to the bottom of the painting exposes a woman, from the tip of her head to the bottom of the width of her leg naked, holding a dead child. The woman is leaning into the dead child, also showing that Kathe Kollwitz has captured a significant amount of emotion. The woman is holding the child with the top of its head facing the painter.

The woman’s face is facing towards downwards, into the child’s body, as to make known the powerful sentiment that is being portrayed by the artist. Only the woman’s hair and her forehead are visible. She is sitting with her legs positioned flat on the floor, one leg facing parallel to her body, with the heels of her feet facing into her body, particularly to the face. The foot on her other leg is positioned just above her left knee-on her lower thigh. Her right leg also supports the head of her child. Both of her hands are gripped around the torso of her child.

The two people pictured in this artwork-the child and the mother is both appear to be naked. The background is a mild grey, with the hair and the atmosphere under the child’s head and body being the darkest points. The edges of the painting, in the background, do however; evolve into dull and muted white or light grey. The lines in the painting aren’t as dominant. Kathe Kollwitz has not focused her artwork on the accuracy and positioning of her lines. They are thing and light, and broken up in some places, therefore, making them invisible, because she has made the colour of the object blend in with the colour of the background.

An example of this is her back. The colour of her back is very similar to the colour of the background. The lines are, as a result not as visible compared to the areas where the body is a lighter colour. Kathe Kollwitz has portrayed her image of the mother and dead child using distressed grey, broken-hearted black and ugly white to generate an effect of grief, sorrow, depression and misery. She has chosen the technique and colours well because the colours set the mood and tone well because of their dullness and lifelessness. The assortment or greys depicts the image of such calamity and tragedy so well.

She has really picked out her colours, shadows and line incredibly. They belong so well together-the image, colour that they complement each other, and couldn’t be seen without one of the other. The shapes in the artwork are basic, yet so complex. The image involves a combination of lines, patterns, and tones, to unravel such a stimulating outcome. They are bold, strong, and emit an unbelievably powerful image to the viewer, releasing a domineering product. The tones are intense, deep and contrasting. In the foreground, lies the presence of a woman holding her child in deep emotion.

The background shows a variety of shades to provoke the powerful image being depicted. The light source is coming from the left of the artwork. It shines onto the woman and child, creating a very realistic effect. Since she shows so much emotion, it is clear that she has been in this situation herself. The powerful rays of emotion flash out in all kinds of directions, the feelings that the mother is going through. Kathe Kollwitz renders this excellently, it is evident that she knows exactly how the mother feels in this picture and can express with confidence.

In addition, the colours that she has used suit the occasion perfectly. The assortments of greys, whites, and blacks show the feelings of the woman. I think the work, surprisingly, is unsuccessful. Although I find it great in countless ways, people tend to judge quickly on what they see. They may find it offensive, too sad to handle, or find it completely disgusting that someone could make up an image that could be so horrible. What they don’t know is that she is simply revealing her feelings of pain and distraught.

The picture shoots out so much feeling, some might think it is too hard to handle, but I think she represents those feelings in the images she has chosen very well and I commend her on that. From that, it is easy to tell that she is a smart artist who uses her brain not only to paint and draw images but also to think about the way she wants her art and how she will portray everything. And I quote, “it was later, when I really got to know about the want and misery of the working classes through my close contact with them, that I felt I also has a duty to serve them though my art. ” And she couldn’t have done it any better.

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