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German Expressionism

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THE COLLECTION

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From the portfolio

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  • Max Beckmann. Christ in the Desert (Large Figure) (Christus in der Wüste [Grosse Figur])  from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
    Christ in the Desert (Large Figure)...
    (1911)
    Max Beckmann. Christ in the Desert (Large Figure) (Christus in der Wüste [Grosse Figur])  from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
  • Max Beckmann. The Baptism of Christ (Taufe Christi) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
    The Baptism of Christ (Taufe Christi)...
    (1911)
    Max Beckmann. The Baptism of Christ (Taufe Christi) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
  • Max Beckmann. Christ and the Sinner (Christus und die Sünderin) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
    Christ and the Sinner (Christus und die...
    (1911)
    Max Beckmann. Christ and the Sinner (Christus und die Sünderin) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
  • Max Beckmann. The Sermon on the Mount (Die Bergpredigt) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
    The Sermon on the Mount (Die Bergpredigt)...
    (1911)
    Max Beckmann. The Sermon on the Mount (Die Bergpredigt) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
  • Max Beckmann. Throwing Dice before the Cross (Die Würfler unter dem Kreuz) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
    Throwing Dice before the Cross (Die...
    (1911)
    Max Beckmann. Throwing Dice before the Cross (Die Würfler unter dem Kreuz) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911)
  • Max Beckmann. The Last Supper (Das Abendmahl) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911, published c. 1917)
    The Last Supper (Das Abendmahl)...
    (1911, published c. 1917)
    Max Beckmann. The Last Supper (Das Abendmahl) from Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament). (1911, published c. 1917)

About the portfolio

Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

Max Beckmann examines Jesus's human qualities—his inner strength and charisma, his humility and forgiveness, and ultimately his suffering—in this, his first print portfolio. Beckmann manipulates space, light, shadow, and the narrative sequence in order to heighten expressiveness, all formal techniques he would further develop in later prints and paintings.

The series begins with an image of Jesus alone in the desert, steeling himself for the forty-day journey and its attendant trials; although kneeling, he fills almost the entire height of the page. Beckmann then shows Jesus's baptism, his defense of a sinner, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Last Supper. In all of these prints, Beckmann places Jesus at the center of the composition. In the final print, however, he shifts the focus away from Jesus and onto the soldiers who crucified him. With their job complete, they while away time with a game of dice. Their mundane boredom contrasts sharply with the anguish Jesus is experiencing only a few feet away.

Max Beckmann (German, 1884–1950)

The Portfolio

Six Lithographs to the New Testament (Sechs Lithographien zum Neuen Testament )

Date:
(1911)
Medium:
Series of six lithographs
Dimensions:
composition (see child records): dimensions vary; sheet (dimension varies): from 17 7/16 x 21 1/8" (44.3 x 53.7 cm) to 22 13/16 x 16 5/16" (58 x 41.5 cm)
Publisher:
Various Publishers
Printer:
Various Printers
Reference:
Glaser 11-16. Gallwitz 5-10. Hofmaier 18-23. Rifkind 127.
MoMA Number:
Portfolio_Beckmann_Six_Lithographs
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