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8Der Würgeengel

ca 1942
Painting, tempera on cardboard, 150 x 75 cm

Der Würgeengel

”Der Würgeengel” (The strangling angel) is another work in which Jeanne Mammen confronts the fascist power of National Socialism. Depicted is a dramatic scene between two figures. The chest, head and one arm of one are visible, painted in strong colors. Of the other, only the arms and hands are visible, in black and white. One of these hands is wrapped around the throat of the other in a strangle-hold, cutting off his air. The victim‘s mouth is open to scream; one arm and a bloodred hand are trying to ward off the attack. The other hand of the aggressor covers nearly the entire lower half of the image; its fingers are spread, as if reaching for the heart. Underneath can be seen the prominent ribcage. The small head of the victim reinforces the impression that this is an emaciated figure, and the face is presented from multiple perspectives, in cubist style. Above the open mouth there is an eye open wide in fear, while on the other side of the face are two eyes, half-closed, one of which has reddened lids. The viewer is offered several temporal perspectives. The hopelessness of defense, an announcement of the approach of death. And while the suffering of the victim is evident and his face is recognizable, the attacker remains anonymous, and the deadly violence of National Socialism has no face – represented only through a sharp black and white pattern in the background.