A Glove

Max-Klinger-–-Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove-1881
Max Klinger-Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove 1. Place-1881

One of the most prominent artists of his time, the German Symbolist Max Klinger is now predominantly remembered for his series of ten etchings entitled Paraphrase über den Fund eines Handschuhs (Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove) first completed in 1877-1878, then revised in a mixed technique of engraving, etching and aquatint in 1881.

A Glove is widely considered to be an important link between Symbolism and Surrealism with it dream-like narrative, changes in size and scale and its symbolic fetishism. It is hard to deny the sexual significance of A Glove and it definitely lends itself to a Freudian interpenetration, though it predates Freud by nearly two decades.

Here is the entire series which I hope you enjoy and I would also be very interesting in what ‘A Glove’ suggests to my readers.

2.Action
2.Action
3. Yearnings
3. Yearnings
4.Rescue
4.Rescue
5 Triumph
5 Triumph
6. Homage
6. Homage
7. Anxieties
7. Anxieties
8. Repose
8.Repose
9.Abduction
9.Abduction
10. Cupid
10, Cupid

74 thoughts on “A Glove

  1. This is just so fucking brilliant, I can hardly believe it. 1. Place. Schemes and faces you wouldn’t expect. is it a child falling down there? 2. Action. I love how the figures are swaying, forming a v, so a womb basically… intriguing. The gap in the trees behind the figures proves the theory to be correct. 3. Yearning. Grieving more like. Dark shadows creeping up on her, a distiguished candle, limp glove, speaks for itself, lost libido, lost life. 4. Rescue. Brilliant white boat, in all dark, stormy waters… Glove out of reach, water, also, very freudian, returning symbol here… lost virtue. 5. Triumph…al sexuality… 6. Homage, obviously the Courbet’s The Wave (Die Woge, 1869), which can be behold of in Städelmuseum Frankfurt/Main, Germany, which is always a pleasure to interpret. A Wave completely covered by roses, fertility in its essence, glove left out of reach? 7. Anxieties. Symbolism of water used again, a wet dream here. The anxiety of drowning in the own lust, perhaps. Hoping to be able clinging on the pure white wall, promising virtueness. 8. Reposes. Curtain made of gloves, hanging loose and limp, enigmatically. One glove being presented… to public? or the reverse 9. Abduction. A nightmare. snatching away the glove before it could come near those delicate flowers… veery obvious indeed. 10. Cupid. Lustful etching indeed, although the meaning behind seems to be left open. Cupid is laughing, bow and arrow left aside carelessly, flower bowing towards the glove mourningly… Thank you so much for the post, I really appreciate it as one can rather easily see… I took your suggestion as an invitation to share my thoughts, I hope you don’t mind, although it would be quite to late now. hehe.

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    1. Thank you for your detailed and intricate response, which I agree in the main. Their are many enigmatic and mysterious features to the series. No 5 in the series Triumph, I would interpret as the glove inside a clam as a reference to a pearl, a common euphemism. There are clues everywhere, but the ultimate meaning eludes us a dream which we interpret according to our own experiences and notions.

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  2. There is a lot going on in each of these pieces. You have to look closely to catch everything. In the first one, the men outnumber the women 11 to 6, and no one rushes to the aid of the fallen girl. In the second I’m wondering what the two men are doing with the woman between them. They have a pretty good grip on her. It gives me a bad feeling. It’s already off kilter thanks to the rollerskating! The menacing shadow in the third, the violent waves in the fourth and it almost seems like a face is formed by the creases in the glove. The next two are very surreal the disembodied gloved hands driving the horse in a conch shell coach? All the flowers washing ashore – burial at sea? The next one is my favorite: the sleeping man with the water about to swamp his bed. The large gloves behind and the pair of gloves creeping forward. This is really a nightmare! The curtain of gloves, hiding what? The suppressed sexualization of everything? And the violent theft of the gloves by the (dragon? Bat? Demon?) Finally Cupid…. brought down by love? Oh I’ve gone on long enough and I’m probably way off base. But I did enjoy studying these. Excellent post.

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    1. Thank you for your detailed analysis, both you and Sue have sent in dissertations! There is a lot going on in every picture and the sexual element I think is unavoidable, also the Proto-Surrealistic effect. I will response further in more detail in due course.

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      1. It really could be a series unto itself, with each piece and its details being expounded upon. I’d love to go through them one by one!

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      2. Also, you know … having the comments go to moderation is kind of cool in that wee can’t see what the other has said when we respond. (At least in the beginning.)

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  3. Now that is strange! Just yesterday I looked up Gumtree for a specific item and there was a pair of mesh gloves for sale @$200. So I was wondering what was so special about mesh gloves?
    Then this a.m. early on awakening half dream state I was musing that a single left silver mesh glove might be nice to own. As you do.
    I had been dreaming about unravelling ropes that were tied up around a truck I was driving as they were unnecessary?
    I love synchros on the Web!
    The Klingor prints reminded me that I have that book of his beautiful drawings packed away somewhere which I had forgotten about.
    Of course there are some Michael Jackson associations around a silver mesh glove.

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    1. I am pretty sure you are like me, you do not believe in coincidences. So therefore you gumtree viewings and the Klinger etchings must be serving a purpose. What that purpose we cannot probably divine, but it has a purpose nevertheless. I am glad I reminded you of your book of prints. Enjoy and thanks for the always fascinating comments.

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      1. You are right! I think I stopped counting “coincidences” after about the 333,333rd strange observation.
        I find it a convenient much overused word by the mentally lazy who have some ego attachment to having to understand and have a neat explanation for all that is happening around them.
        I am a Fool who laughs at absurdity.
        P.S. Don’t forget Michael Jackson!

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      1. Hermes the Psychopomp steals the discarded Soul?
        Thank-you for the link. I will read it know. Tehuti has always meant a lot to me.

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  4. Sigh…the Emerald Tablet is so beautiful. 3 the magical foundation of Memphis.
    Mercury has just recently joined Saturn at our Galactic Centre and picked up the baton which he journeys with, or his staff.
    So what about der Vogel und der glove?

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  5. Wow, very interesting stuff! I had never seen this artist before. I love the little story it seems to tell — the glove is a prize — a symbol of power, magic, protection and love. The discarded glove is often a key or an invitation to adventure…

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    1. That is a lovely view… the glove does lead to seem very interesting adventures. I always like to highlight little known artists…there work maybe minor but it is often more interesting than the acknowledged masterpieces.

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      1. I am sure I’ve heard his name before but have not seen this work. I really love these! I keep seeing new things as a study them. #8 Repose, is that an alligator sticking his nose out from under the curtain of gloves?

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      2. This kind of stuff is not idle! I would call it surreal exploration, necessary for the enlightenment of humankind. The Rabbit in Alice had gloves, which he lost and had a bit of an obsession with… That makes things very relevant 🙂

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  6. Mr. Cake, I think the series etchings captures the self. How we imagine ourselves, our wants and our shortcomings, both internally and externally. No. 2, should maybe be called, “Attraction” as that seems to be the subliminal message. Very interesting etchings! ~ Miss Cranes

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