It is rather clear that the intention of Kollwitz was to make a connection between near-death situation and the “actual death”, which is being symbolized by the skeletal hand. The darker shades on her left arm and biceps suggest of a deteriorating body condition – Kollwitz was experiencing the degeneration of her body as death slowly takes her.
There is also a great significance on the manner in which Kollwitz positioned her hands, particularly her fingers. Her index finger implies a weakening physical motor functioning. This can be validated by the first three fingers which already narrowed down. Her right arm was rested on her left biceps, nearly touching the skeletal hand. This may mean that Kollwitz, perhaps sensing her very near death, surrendering herself to the hands of death. Technically, the skeletal hand in the lithograph symbolizes the hand of death.
It seems like Kollwitz did not erase anything from her original sketch. This can be proven by the somewhat untidy descriptions of the outlines of the drawing. Generally, the lithograph does not look neat but are made of brisk shades. The initial gestures were indeed integral part of the drawing. The gesture represented that of her age – an old, dying woman; and this even show on her facial expressions. The movements of the hands are definitely very slow. You will see in the lithograph that there are no hues of rapid movements. The artists richly used lines and tones to define the scope of her drawing. The semi-thick outlines that formed her shoulders provided a clear description of the motives of the lithograph, that is, to portray a dying woman or person.
I used charcoal in my drawing in order to recapture the intentions of the artist in her drawing. I had to make sure that the space is carefully used in a way that would subtly separate the body of the woman from the skeletal hand. By using charcoal, it adds more “dark” emotions to the paintings, which is very important in order to