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The Large Operation

Item Code MB-81-s
Medium
Drypoint
Cat Rais No
81
Suite
Gesichter (Faces)
Date of Work
c1914
Edition Number
59
Edition Size
100
Signed
Signed
Height (cm)
29
Width (cm)
45
£7,500

Description

The earliest of Beckmann’s prints in the portfolio (perhaps dating as early as 1914), ‘The Large Operation’ takes its inspiration from Beckmann’s first-hand experience with the injured as a medical orderly in the First World War. As with much of Beckmann’s drypoint work, the plate shows signs of burnishing and reworking: the figure to the right, laid out on the operating table, now has his feet crossed over each other, where before they were straight. The change is subtle, but perhaps suggestive too: the pose is reminiscent of Christ’s feet laid over each other on the cross, and with ‘Descent from the Cross’ being another image in the suite the allusion is possibly intended. Certainly, the emphasis is on the two bodies and their resemblance of corpses: where the figure on the right is laid out naked as if already dead, the figure on the left, with incised ribcage and black eye sockets, is skeletal in appearance, as if he were death himself.
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