Life Death and War by Käthe Kollwitz is showing at The National Gallery

I went to visit the National Gallery twice last week. I was lucky enough to have a ticket for the closing week of the wonderful Vermeer exhibition. The second visit was to see an exhibition showing in the Print Gallery*.

I am currently attending Block-T workshops under artist Nicolas Robinson and visited “Life Death and War” by Käthe Kollwitz on his recommendation.

Käthe Kollwitz was an important German artists born in 1867. This exhibition consists of 38 of her prints and drawings. I was particularly drawn to her portraiture draughtmanship. As well as portraits we see her dramatic, theatrical, graphic style prints.

The work is quite dark in subject matter. It may be best to attend in your best form. After she married in 1891, Käthe moved to a poor district in North Berlin. Her work shows empathy towards the working classes and the horrors of death and loss due to war.

Her own son Peter was killed in the opening weeks of World War I. Her series of monochrome woodcut prints convey her trauma from this event aswel as the universal suffering caused by war. Again, this is not a light subject but the work is stunning.

The artist tackles some difficult themes, starving children, a mothers loss of a child to war, helpless peasants using farm tools as weapons in Bauernkreig. Suffering is highlighted and the horrors of war and bereavement are the focal point.

The exhibition runs until the 10th of December and admission is free.

*The print Gallery is located where here the Margaret Clarke exhibition was shown. At the exit point of Vermeer, there is a children’s drawing area and a stair case. The Print gallery, for those unfamiliar, is directly up those stairs.

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