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In the slaughterhouse (the slaughterhouse)

Painting, 1893, 78×89 cm

Description of the artwork «In the slaughterhouse (the slaughterhouse)»

Inspired by the resounding success of biblical scenes "Pieta" which received an award at the Paris salon of 1890, but, unfortunately, not survived during the Third Reich, Corinth conceives again to amaze the public – this time an ancient Greek story.

But the hopes of the artist has failed: a large-scale two-meter "Diogenes" looking for the man with the lantern was posted by critics to the nines. It was said that the failure of the exhibition in the Munich Glass Palace is not only of Corinth plunged in protracted depression, but even led to an attempt to take her own life with a lethal injection of morphine.


Start from the bottom of the Loviisa helped a colleague and comrade Otto Eckmann, under whom he learned the basics of working on the etching. He was advised of Corinth to temporarily move away from religious and mythological motifs and write something radical, deliberately provocative – in a word, to make art attack.

The idea of the artist Eckmann worked. There was nobody who could get past the bleeding, giving a metallic taste of death and blaze fresh meat of paintings under the General title "On the slaughter" created by Corinth in the early 1890s. In rejecting the ill-fated "Diogenes", exhibition hall of the Glass Palace of the pretentious artist with their skinned carcasses to go not become. They sheltered less conservative Schulte gallery and the Munich secession.

As expected, a bloodbath of Corinth produced a bombshell. Critics tore the throat in the debate about how unbearably beautiful or is it disgusting limit the expressive naturalism of the scenes in "Slaughterhouse". And while Corinth has a wide, sharp stroke, not really going into detailed details, that ardent energy that he invested in the depiction of everyday labor, a butcher, was enough to some especially impressionable spectators were literally throwing up in the exhibition hall.

From childhood

Material for the art of provocation Corinth was not chosen arbitrarily. He grew up in the family of Tanner, and friend and business partner of his father was a butcher. From the earliest years of the younger Louis (this is on the high German dialect, called Lovis in his family) watched the apprentice pile of fresh bull hides on the table in the hallway of the house. It dazzles, as the inflated air bubbles under the still damp skin, and then slowly, gradually resolved.

"I couldn't see how to slaughter cattle, in these moments, I was hiding"– I'll write to Corinth in one of his books. He recalls how during slaughtering, the river flowing through their town was painted in red color. Describes how the white steam spurted from split cow carcasses: "Inside – red, purple, pearl was hung on iron posts".

Some researchers reasonably consider lethal cycle of Corinth as the understanding and experience of children's injuries is childish impressions. And even draw Parallels with the etymology of expressionism Munch whose fears from childhood related illness and death in the family, is also largely defined his artistic style.

Victims of the Nazis

Up to the present day survived only a few works in the series. During the regime of the Third Reich 295 paintings of Corinth was classified as "degenerate art" and were subject to exponential destruction or expulsion from the country.

In addition to this painting, survived two of the same picture (1, 2). Quite a different mood, breathing a little more late work "The butcher shop" (1897). Instead of evoking the atmosphere of carnage and pools of blood we see a smiling, satisfied with the results of their work, the young apprentice with a tray of fresh beef in his hands.

Several years later, at the beginning of the 20th century, Corinth returned to the subject disturbing, but in a completely new way. In 1913, he writes another "Butcher shop" but this time it shows only a few amorphous, do not cause absolutely no emotions carcasses. And "The slaughtered ox" 1905 and all can be regarded as a modernized picturesque paraphrase of the same name Rembrandts.

I want to believe that the loss of the artist Corinth the former expression and the relative cooling of the topic of cattle slaughter just means that his childhood trauma had been successfully weathered and archived forever.

Author: Natalia Azarenka
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Expressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1893

Size: 78×89 cm

Artwork in selections: 6 selections

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