Die Donauquelle (The Source of the Danube) depicts Kiefer's exploration of a mythological subject within the artist's larger view of the relationship between art and nature. The book contains several recurring themes in Kiefer's work, specifically that of the idea of the 'palette' possessing both human and spiritual attributes.
Speaking of Die Donauquelle, Mark Rosenthal notes: "That [Kiefer] should focus once again on water is not surprising...These associations with birth and death, destruction and regeneration, establish a context for the watery setting in which the palette arises...the birth of the palette is...the first stage of life." (M. Rosenthal, Anselm Kiefer, Chicago and Philadelphia 1987, pp. 72-74).