This unsettling Symbolist work brings together elements of Franc Berneker’s sculptures with the shared motif of “waves of life” or “unification in death”: The Drowned Couple, Victims, Solitude and Drama. The protagonists of each of these sculptures, created between 1903 and 1906, are seated in solitude or lying in misery, pain and death, melting into the pedestal in a Jugendstil rejection of standing, erect figures. Social issues, pessimism and a tragic worldview permeate Berneker’s works of this kind. The monumental sculpture Drama presents a poignant and tragic moment of the death of parents, which leaves no one unmoved.
The pyramidal group of figures, designed in a realist manner, is placed on an oval pedestal. The murdered father lies on the floor, the mother has fallen on top of him and the child is suckling at her bared breast. The female figure, her upper body and head bent backwards at a sharp angle, is comparable to the one in Berneker’s composition Victims. The head of the male figure in The Drowned Couple is placed in a similar position.
The work was originally titled Drama from the Revolution, later shortened to Drama, while its alternative title was Catastrophe.