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Man with bird

Year: 1932
Material: watercolor
Dimensions: 63 x 48 cm

From the head of a male bust in three-quarter profile emerges from a bird with a slightly strained wings and open beak. Below the bust is a stylized flower or cloverleaf.

From thin and thick strokes the head and formed bird. The very thick lines suggest shadows and limits the representation sharply. They contrast with the extremely fine lines which have almost no ink.

Distributed on the scene colors enliven the drawing. The artist continued to paint a subtle but convincing. He only colored parts of the bird with red and orange and did not stick to his outline drawing, but painted boldly on the limitation. The sky blue surrounds the man's profile, and here it spills over the outline. The red-orange area in the man's ear is a counterpoint to the other areas of color. The translucent sight of the vertically oriented black area increases the bust some of its smooth, unblemished surface.

Picasso: Tête de femme au chapeau, 1962, Linolschnitt (Source: John Szoke Gallery)

Interesting is the area around the nose and mouth. Here sat the artist several times the spring and drew the eye, as if the face en face would. These multiple perspectives can be traced back to a figure of speech Picasso. You should illustrate simultaneity of various impressions and views.

Let us now turn to the content of the drawing. The artist leaves and partake of a birth - a brainchild. The skull is arched forward and his forehead is wrinkled. Despite the pain, the man has placed an almost smug smile. The mature bird croaks his first cry.

In Greek mythology, Athena's birth is told as Kopfgeburt: Metis who could change into many forms and therefore the Advertise could resist Zeus' long, eventually became pregnant by him. An oracle prophesied the father of the gods, that he will be equal his daughter and his son would overthrow him. So Zeus devoured the pregnant Metis.

Kopfgeburt der Athene, greek vase painting

When he got a bad headache, split him in his command, Hephaestus with a hammer or Doppelbeil the head and from him emerged from the adult and dressed in full armor Athena. The brother remained unborn and unnamed. Athena was due to their birth as the incarnation of the spirit of wisdom and intelligence.

Especially from the 1930s Fritz Griebel became deeply involved with antiquity. His drawings can be interpreted as a commentary on Athena's birth: Athena is not only the goddess of wisdom and the fight, but also the art. Thus the drawing is also a metaphor of the artist per se as an inspiration. In his mind, to ideas, which he transforms artistic form. So it's the birth of a conceptual design, the Griebel visualized here: The bust as deputy to the artist gives birth to a form of thought which has become - and looks forward.


Fritz Graf, Anne Ley: Athena, in: Der Neue Pauly, Bd. 2. Stuttgart 1997, S. 160–167.


Antje Buchwald 2015