Page 148 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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Fig. 2.
1913, etching.
they include mass shootings, hangings, deportations in cattle-cars
and other events which seem to presage the Holocaust.8
In all these works the level o f pain and despair is high.
Steinhardt, however, added three new elements: the skeletal
symbol of death on the right, the cataclysm o f nature in the
background, and the gesture of the patriarch which is as much
one o f fury and railing against God as it is one o f despair. The
pictorial sources o f these elements can be found in Steinhardt’s
pre-war works, when — as a member of the Pathetiker group —
he depicted scenes o f apocalyptic destruction which echoed the
ideas expressed in contemporary German Expressionist poetry.
For instance, a skeleton leaning through a window in the same
pose had appeared in
Death and the Maiden
o f 1913 (K 6 and A-M
65); the eclipsed sun is found in several versions o f
1912 (e.g. A-M 53) and the sickle moon appears in
Dream, Praying
o f 1913 (A-M 62, 77-78).9 Even the main fig­
ure is a variation on Steinhardt’s 1913 painting,
The Prophet
8 Abel Pann,
Der Tranen-Krug,
Jerusalem: Bezalel, 1926.
9 Numbers preceded by K refer to woodcuts catalogued in Kolb,
The Woodcuts o f
Jakob Steinhardt,
and by A-M to etchings catalogued in Amishai-Maisels,
Steinhardt: Etchings and Lithographs.