Arming in a Vault, sheet 4 of the cycle »Peasants War«, 1906

Bicolour etching with line etching, drypoint, aquatint and soft ground with imprint of Ziegler's transfer paper, Kn 96 VI

Käthe Kollwitz, Arming in a Vault, sheet 4 of the cycle »Peasants War«, 1906, bicolour etching with line etching, drypoint, aquatint and soft ground with imprint of Ziegler's transfer paper, Kn 96 VI, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Sheet 4 in the series shows the concrete preparations for the revolt. Kollwitz illustrated the turning point in the course of the events – from inertia in an inhuman situation to the activities in preparation for the struggle for a life in dignity. This is particularly manifest in the motif of the spiral staircase on which the armed peasants throng and rush outside. The image immediately suggests a link between the word ›revolution‹ in its figurative sense and its literal meaning.

The artist had already developed this idea in the first preparatory stage in winter 1901/1902. The final version, in which the diagonal line of the armed peasants storming through the image is mirror-inverted, gives additional momentum to the upward movement as the observer ›reads‹ the scene from left to right.

STUDIES, PREPARATORY WORKS, PROOFS

Käthe Kollwitz, Arming in a Vault, c 1906, chalk on thick, textured, light-brown paper, NT (215a), Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Arming in a Vault, c 1906, chalk on thick, textured, light-brown paper, NT (215a)

Käthe Kollwitz, Arming in a Vault, c 1906, charcoal, blotted, and yellow chalk on dark, grey-green Ingres paper, NT 216, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Arming in a Vault, c 1906, charcoal, blotted, and yellow chalk on dark, grey-green Ingres paper, NT 216

Käthe Kollwitz, Arming in a Vault, first proof of sheet 4 for the »Peasants War« cycle, 1906, bicolour etching, line etching, drypoint, aquatint and soft ground with imprint of Ziegler's transfer paper, edited by hand in black ink and Titanium white, Kn 96 I, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz, Arming in a Vault, first proof of sheet 4 for the »Peasants War« cycle, 1906, bicolour etching, line etching, drypoint, aquatint and soft ground with imprint of Ziegler's transfer paper, edited by hand in black ink and Titanium white, Kn 96 I

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