Stuck chose the last chapter of the Nibelungenleid for his striking composition.
Hagen von Tronje affects an imposing stance with his legs apart and sword drawn at the top of a flight of stairs. Kriemheild, Siegfriend’s wife, stands at the bottom of the stairs. She is cursing Hagen for the murder of her husband whilst surrounded by fallen warriors. Stuck’s early pencil sketches show his concentration on her anguished pose of hopeless appeal over specific detail in the figure of Kriemheild herself. His earlier pencil sketches also show fallen warriors cluttering the stairs, figures which have been removed by this stage in the development of the final composition to more dramatically show the anguished dynamic between these two main figures. It is suggested that in creating this stark work, Stuck was motivated by a call against arms following his impression of the war and his imprisonment under the Munich Soviet Republic a year earlier. The completed composition of ‘Der Nibelungen Not’ is currently held in a private collection.
Mrs. Margot Th. Brandlhuber, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.