(Königsberg in Prussia/Kaliningrad1867–1945 Moritzburg)
Currently on display at EG
This sculpture, one of Käthe Kollwitz’s (1867–1945) mature works, shows a mother mourning for her son. In contrast to the traditional form of Pietà, the son is crumpled on the floor rather than lying on his mother’s knees. His lifeless body is surrounded in a protective pose by his mother’s legs. The sculpture is based on the German artist’s personal experiences and circumstances, which had a significant impact on her work as a whole. She developed this work of expressive realism in memory of her son Peter, who was killed in 1914. Kollwitz, a convinced pacifist, had already worked through this difficult loss with her memorial The Grieving Parents years earlier. Completed in 1932, that sculpture shows only the mourning parents, whereas with the Pietà, Kollwitz dedicated an intimate, private memorial to her son.