Anselm Kiefer

Man under a Pyramid

About this artwork

Usually denoting the presence of a tomb, ancient pyramids are commonly used to symbolise spiritual salvation. Kiefer’s structure is the same shape as the Great Pyramids in Egypt, whose stepped walls were believed to offer the deceased a safe passage to heaven. However, in Kiefer’s image, a body is still present beneath the pyramid. In his thick application of paint and ash, the artist creates a sense of gravity and re-contextualises the pyramid motif for a post-Holocaust era. Recalling the brick-like structures in his earlier paintings of Nazi mausoleums, it acts as a reminder to the haunting legacy of war.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    Man under a Pyramid
  • date created:
    1996
  • materials:
    Emulsion, acrylic paint, shellac and ash on 2 canvases
  • measurements:
    overall: 354.50 x 503.50 x 9.50 cm (support: 730.00 x 503.00 x 9.50 cm / support: 281.50 x 503.00 x 6.50 cm )
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    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
  • accession number:
    AR00037
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer