Otto Dix, The Skat Players (1920)
Otto Dix (1891-1969) was one of the most important artists of the Dada and Neue Sachlichkeit [New Objectivity] movements. Wounded and crippled World War I veterans are a recurring theme in his work. The card players, fitted with prosthetic arms and legs, depict the German elite during the Weimar era. On the right, the soldier endowed with the Iron Cross First Class embodies the military. His earless opponent directly opposite represents finance and capitalism, while the middle figure symbolizes the “old” aristocracy. The prosthesis and sensory support apparatus represent the “cyborgization” of humanity through faith in technology and progress; at the same time, they are also a direct critique of it. Skat, a card game that was especially popular among conservatives in Germany, was also played by soldiers in the trenches during World War I.
Original: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz / ARS NY