The Kyffhäuser

Anselm Kiefer German

Not on view

The Kyffhäuser, a forested mountain in Thuringia, is associated with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, known as Barbarossa (ca. 1123–1190). According to German legend, Barbarossa slept with his troops, horses, and arms in a limestone cave deep in the mountain, awaiting the time he would emerge to restore German greatness. During the nineteenth century, the figure of Barbarossa came to be associated with the Romantic notion of national unity. For this painted photograph, Kiefer relocated the mountain lair to his studio and added a tiny palette at the bottom of the composition, thereby suggesting it is the artist, and not a slumbering warrior, who may offer salvation.

The Kyffhäuser, Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945), Acrylic, gouache, graphite, and watercolor on photograph

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