Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht's Berlin

Wrath/Eclipse of The Sun

The Eclipse of the Sun is a primary example of George Grosz’s social caricature, focusing here on the ills of capitalism and the dream of a true republic in Weimar Germany. Almost every character in this image is an object of Grosz’s anger - the general uses religion to justify violence, the corrupt businessman whispers into the general’s ear, the empty suits around the table do nothing to stem the abuse of power, and the ignorant donkey, which represents the public, simply allows these things to go on in ignorance, especially of the prisoner right below its feet.

Upon first look, one might not even notice the dim red sun in the top right corner, focusing instead on the colorful distortions of humanity around the war room table. Nonetheless, it is there, covered by a dollar sign. This leftist pessimism about the role money has in keeping people oppressed is the sort of indignation common to many works of the Weimar era. Much of Grosz’s other work shares similar themes, drawing on Dada anti-art stylings to present those complicit in the capitalist order as horrible and ugly.

The piece itself suggests no particular alternative to the problems Grosz presents - there is no call to action or suggestion that these capitalist forces can be overcome. Rather, Grosz exhibits the wrath common to the extreme political forces of the Weimar era, and leaves the viewer to decide what to do with this anger.


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