© DACS 2008

Reference URL

Untitled 1961
  • Artist Rooms
This pencil drawing has a mysterious and frustrating aspect. The elongated shapes look like words which have been deliberately and artfully scribbled over. Floating like clouds at the top of the page, they are out of our reach as we cannot read what they say, but the viewer's attention is therefore transferred to the shapes on the page and the quality of the medium. In some of Beuys's drawings which include text, the artist covered selected words with materials like Braunkreuz oil paint to let the medium 'absorb' them.

Glossary Open


A medium invented, and first used, by the German artist Joseph Beuys in the late 1950s. It literally translates as ‘brown cross’. Composed of a mixture of paint and blood, it evokes images of rust, dirt, excrement and blood. As a term it has associations with Christianity, Nazism, National Socialism, war and the occult. By varying the qualities of the component parts, Beuys could experiment with the colour, density and texture of this unusual material.

Medium/ media

The material from which an artwork is made, e.g. oil paint, bronze, paper. 'Medium' is also used for the liquid element of paint in which a colouring agent is carried. 'Mixed media' is used when an artist combines several different materials in an artwork.

Braunkreuz, Medium/ media


  • Acc. No. AR00651
  • Medium Graphite on paper
  • Size 29.70 x 20.90 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008