Universal Art and Social Art

Universal art and social art are both types of art that tell a story.Universal art portrays a common scene that can be found in almost any culture.Social or cultural art portrays a scene that has a specific time or place in a society or is specific to particular culture or religion.

The etching by Kathe Kollwitz, Death, Woman and Child (figure 315, page 227) portrays a woman pressing her cheek against her lifeless child.This piece represents universal art, more specifically Nekya Mythologeme.Nekya Mythologeme stories are about personal struggles, doubt, and anxiety.Death is a common occurrence in all cultures which is why this piece is classified as universal.The sorrow, pain, and grief of death experienced by the family and friends left behind defines Nekya Mythologeme.This piece is shows the unconditional love felt between a mother and child by how the mother has pressed her face as close as possible to the child's, appearing connected.The expression on the mother's face is one of love and complete sorrow.The piece also shows a hand wrapped around the child's neck.The text makes note that it is uncertain if this hand is the hand of death or the mother's hand . If the hand is of the mother, then the story is of how much the mother loves and adores her child.If the hand is representation of death then the story is of a mother unable to recover from the loss of a precious child, which is probably what the artist was trying to portray.Later in the text Sayre references the fact that this scene is a foreshadowing of the mother's death.

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Kollwitz' piece nearly brought me to tears when I saw it.I have a young child and the mere thought of his death gives me extreme sorrow.Prior to having a child I never knew what an unbreakable bond there is between a mother and child.I believe it is the strongest bond one can have with another human being.Kollwitz used brown ink and w…


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