Drawing 1

I am officially a visual arts student.  I see the act of becoming an undergraduate again as a terrific achievement in itself, even though I have to keep the day job!  The purpose of these pages is to serve as an online learning log as a personal record of my learning process, which my tutor can also follow when she wishes.  I keep a book as well because I enjoy the physical act of writing in ink, along with drawing, and collecting images of exhibitions that I visit.  There is something very satisfying about a logbook-cum-sketchbook that grows beyond itself so that all manner of mementos spill from its bindings.  An online logbook has the advantage of being able to link to myriad resources and so I hope to get the best of both worlds.

The Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Köln. I cannot believe that I have overlooked this museum for so long. This is the largest single collection of Kollwitz’s work anywhere, I believe, and it began with the purchase of “Brot!”, a lithograph depicting a woman with two starving children.  One, a small girl stands in front of her, tugging on her dress, crying.  To the other side and behind stands another child (a boy?) pulling her in the opposite direction and who receives bread from the hand behind her back.  The woman’s face is unseen, her head is bowed towards her daughter, and one can only imagine her desperation, also in need of food herself.   How are such choices made? “Brot!” can be seen here …

The mother-child relationship is explored endlessly through Kollwitz’s life, usually with undertones of a child’s sickness or death, as in her copper plate print “Frau mit totem Kind” (Woman with dead child). This image is visually powerful due to the masterful use of tone, which has created a three dimensional, almost sculptural image. I have not been able to find an image online that does justice to the original in the Köln collection. However, there is one here that conveys an idea of its power.

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