Kollwitz spoke of the 'gravity and tragedy of the most miserable kind of proletarian existence' visible in the appearance of the women who attended her husband's surgery. She bears witness to their suffering in this expressive head. Kollwitz made a number of drawings of heads, mainly of careworn, working-class women. She preferred to depict working-class subjects, since Kollwitz felt that they presented themselves openly and expressed themselves with no disguises. This etching shows the artist's skill in sculpting form out of light and shade. It is typical of the dignified manner in which Kollwitz treated her subjects.