In 1982, Anselm Kiefer unveiled his painting titled “Nuremberg” which measures 110 3/8 x 149 7/8 inches and is made of oil, straw, and mixed media on canvas. This painting reflects Kiefer’s interest in German history and national identity, specifically the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust. Kiefer explores themes related to taboo and controversial issues, such as Nazi rule.
The painting asks us to look at all three Nurembergs and all three Germanies evenly. Nuremberg was the site of the post-World War II war tribunal before which Nazism was finally called to account. The painting serves as a reminder for Germans to face their country’s difficult past head-on. It also portrays Kiefer’s belief that Germany should acknowledge its role in the atrocities committed during World War II while also looking towards a brighter future.
Anselm Kiefer is known for being a history painter who uses complex symbolism in his pieces. His somber epic paintings explore myth, memory, German culture, and the aftermath of World War II. He often leaves elements unresolved or ambiguous leaving interpretation up to viewers’ discretion. Through his art, he encourages people not only to look into historical events but also relate them to modern times.