An early work from 1978, Brunhildes Seele is one of an important series by Anselm Kiefer based on Richard Wagner's epic operatic cycle, Ring of the Nibelung, which recounts the ancient Teutonic legend of Siegfried and Brunhilde. Siegfried, after rescuing and marrying Brunhilde and having watched her sacrifice her supernatural powers for the sake of her love, succumbs to his desire for fame and adventure and is tricked into drinking poison that causes him to forget his vows to his wife. Near the end of the opera Brunhilde seeks revenge, but at the point of her husband's murder she discovers they have both been deceived. Grieving for her beloved, she constructs an enormous funeral pyre for Siegfried and rides her horse Grane into the rising flames. Kiefer has expressively depicted this fire in the present work in oils and pastels, the strong, gestural marks of the artist's hand heightening the emotional drama of the work. In this way Brunhildes Seele is a continuation of Kiefer's investigation of themes of love and idealism, but also serves as a metaphor for universal suffering, sacrifice and destruction.