Kollwitz's Uprising: The Peasant War

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‘Uprising’, an Expressionistic piece dated 1899, illustrates the revolt of the working-class, with the depiction of an allegorical nude female leading the peasants beneath her, charging forth at an unseen entity. This work explores a concept similar to that of Kollwitz’s cycle ‘The Peasant War’ which features ‘Black Anna’, a woman Kollwitz saw as an important figure in stirring significant social changes.

Adopting a landscape layout, ‘Uprising’ is an asymmetrically balanced work that bears resemblance to the work, ‘Die Satanisten. Satan sät die Hexenbrut ' dated 1882. The only observed female of this artwork is portrayed with surrealistic proportions in her most vulnerable state - nude and exposed - whilst wielding a torch in her hands, her back leg swung up in a fleeing motion. Although unclear in this version of the work, the coloured ‘planning’ of this piece features the woman to be bearing a torch of flames that has ignited fire in the burning building behind her. Under the woman, a group of ‘peasants’ hold weapons in their hands - some concealed
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In the midst of analysing meaning, I noticed that I could instantly categorise the men as the ‘lower-class’ yet the naked woman bears no symbolism on her body to allude to any class in society, henceforth was read merely as a ‘female’. The nude presentation of the woman, as I read it, could also be to do with women having to shed their pride in order to prove themselves worth of participation in the rebellion. ‘Uprising’, rather than being viewed with stigma surrounding violence and the sacrifice paid with the lives of many, marks the positive societal change of a more equal society where women are provided a voice. This is a reflection of the advancement in social progress of the 19th century, when women were ‘beginning to claim their

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