Myth and Modernity: Barlach's Drawings on the Nibelungen

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In interpreting its own age art often turns to the past. At the beginning of the twentieth century one of these encounters between present and past was prompted by the interest a major figure in German modernism, the sculptor Ernst Barlach, came to take in the medieval epic The Song of the Nibelungen. There exists no statement by Barlach to explain what prompted his interest and the resulting sequence of large drawings on the epic's climactic final segment, reproduced here. In conception and execution these drawings stand ...

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