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Käthe Kollwitz: Sharpening the Scythe and the Spark of Revolutionary Consciousness

What technical and aesthetic challenges did the German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz face while representing the awakening of a revolutionary consciousness? How did she capture the moment in which an oppressed class of people turns against its oppressors? The numerous preparatory sketches leading up to the final etching of Sharpening the Scythe show Kollwitz wrestling with these questions as a politically committed and technically ambitious artist.

Louis Marchesano is senior curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and was former curator of prints and drawings at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Much of his work focuses on the history of printmaking in France from the 17th through the 19th centuries. In 2017, in recognition of his contributions to the field, he was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters).

This lecture complements the exhibition Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics, on view at the Getty Research Institute from December 3, 2019, through March 29, 2020.

Free | Advance ticket required

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