Beim Dengeln (While Sharpening the Scythe)

Käthe Kollwitz, German, 1867 - 1945


1905; published after 1945

Etching on wove paper

Plate: 11 1/2 × 11 3/4 in. (29.2 × 29.8 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Museum Purchase


Portfolio / Series Title

Plate 3 of 7 from Bauernkrieg (Peasants' War)


A. von der Becke, Berlin, Germany


Place Made: Germany, Europe


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Inscribed, in plate, lower right: 1921; embossed, lower right: AVD BECKE/KUNSTVERLAG/BERLIN-HALENSEE


Filling nearly the entirety of the print, a woman holds a scythe, a farm tool used for cutting grains, and rubs at its blade. Standing in deep shadows, the woman is selectively highlighted, dramatizing the moment. Although made at the beginning of the twentieth century, this etching  belongs to a series Kollwitz made depicting the sixteenthcentury German Peasants’ War, during which people who worked the land rose up against the aristocracy, motivated by social inequality, religious differences, and economic hardship. This woman prepares for battle, her scythe a weapon. Ultimately unsuccessful, the revolt ended with the violent repression of the farmers. Whereas written documents from the period emphasize the elites’ perspective, Kollwitz’s series records moments from the viewpoint of the peasants.

From the 2023 exhibition Recording War: Images of Violence 1500 – 1900, curated by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Academic Programming

Course History

GERM 10, Germany and the East, Yuliya Komska, Winter 2013

SART 27, SART 28, Printmaking I: Intaglio, Printmaking II, Louise Hamlin, Winter 2013

GERM 3.01, Introdoctory German (cont.), Heidi Denzel, Fall 2022

Anthropology 3.01, Introduction to Anthropology, Charis Ford Morrison Boke 1, Summer 2023

Studio Art 27.01/28.01/74.01, Printmaking I/II/III, Josh Dannin, Summer 2024

Facilitated Experience: Special Tour - From Goya to Photojournalism, Summer 2023

Exhibition History

Aspects of Human Experience: Works from the Permanent Collection, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, Art History 2, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 12, 1998-March 14, 1999.

Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, October 17, 2000-January 14, 2001.

Recording War: Images of Violence, 1500-1900, Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 23-December 9, 2023.

The Voice of the Print, Visual Studies Department Installation, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 1, 1989-January 1, 1990.

Catalogue Raisonne

A. Klipstein, Kathe Kollwitz: Verzeichnis des Graphischen Werkes, Bern, 1955, no. 90.

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