Barlach, one of Germany’s foremost modern sculptors, drew inspiration from the expressive power and simplicity of medieval sculpture. Deeply affected by his experiences at the front during World War I, he became a committed pacifist. Though much honoured, he lived in isolation before being ostracized by the Nazis. They saw his expressionist works as “degenerate,” and a number of his war memorials were actually destroyed. The writer Bertholt Brecht was struck by the realism and humanity of this famous sculpture. Eyes closed, the singer concentrates on his performance with ecstatic fervour and an expression of total abandon.