Serpents appear in Kiefer's work in many forms and reference a variety of meanings. Kiefer associates his Astral Snake, the encircling serpent (a carefully torn photograph of a bamboo plant) that hovers against a starry night sky, with the Gnostic image of the Ouroboros, a snake biting its own tail, which, for Kiefer, connotes a circular, rather than linear, concept of time. Miracle of the Serpents borrows from Exodus (7:10-12), wherein Moses, Aaron, and the pharaoh's sorcerers do battle: "Every man cast down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods." The central image at the top-a cut-out photograph of an Art Deco light fixture from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station-seems to stand as a futuristic manifestation of heavenly presence.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 15, 1998–March 21, 1999, no. 46.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Broken Flowers and Grass: Nature and Landscape in the Drawings of Anselm Kiefer," March 24–August 2, 2009, no catalogue.
Nan Rosenthal in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1994–1995." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 53 (Autumn 1995), p. 68.
Nan Rosenthal. Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 105, no. 46, ill. p. 107 (color).