This image is presented as a "thumbnail" because it is protected by copyright. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts respects the rights of artists who retain the copyright to their work. Title:Blind Man's BuffArtist:Max Beckmann Date:1945Creation Place:Europe, GermanyCredit Line:Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald WinstonImage Copyright:Â©Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, BonnAccession Number:55.27a-c
Blind Man's Buff is the most important of the five triptychs created by Max Beckmann while exiled in Holland between 1937-1947 - an exile necessitated by the Nazi's inclusion of ten of his works in their exhibition of "degenerate art" in 1937. Like much of his art, Blind Man's Buff is allusive and symbolic, inviting explication yet resisting explicit interpretation. Yet, the artist's use of the three-paneled format that was traditional to Medieval and Renaissance altarpieces evokes religious associations. Beckmann also drew upon classical sources, calling the figures at center "the gods" and the animal-headed man the "minotaur." Throughout the triptych, figures engage in sensual pleasures in a place where time, represented by a clock without XII or I, has no beginning or end. In sharp contrast on each wing are the blindfolded man and kneeling woman who, like prayerful donors in a Renaissance altarpiece, turn their backs to the confusion behind them.