This series of etchings is a departure towards a new period in two respects. First of all, it is a gripping account of the rebellion of disenfranchised peasants in 1524/25. It is thus a visualisation of man’s self-understanding in the early modern age which emphasises freedom and human dignity and which is also a core tenet in the Reformation and in Renaissance humanism.
In addition, this series reflects the artistic revolt of the late modern age which saw a breaking away of modern art from the academic tradition. Kollwitz’ pictorial language went through a process of veritable reformation during the creation of this cycle, which is evident in the numerous drafts and discarded compositions. The final artistic solutions invoke inspirations by Renaissance masters such as Dürer, Masaccio and Michelangelo as well as renowned artists of Modernism like Daumier, Manet and Rodin.
As a result of the convincing pictorial solutions that the artist achieved, she was awarded the Villa Romana Prize, created by Max Klinger, even before she finished the cycle. In 1907, Kollwitz spent some time in Florence in order to receive the award. 2017 will see the 110th anniversary of this residence.
The exhibits from the museum’s own substantial collection will be complemented by numerous works on loan from Germany and abroad and include works by artists who inspired Kollwitz in her pictorial invention.