Anselm Kiefer
Die Sechste Posaune (The Sixth Trumpet), 1996

The monumental size of Kiefer’s work echoes its grand themes. Whether he is addressing German history or more universal topics, the artist deliberately takes advantage of giant scale to depict imposing structures, cavernous interiors, and vast landscapes.

Here, a sea of dark rain pours from an open sky. Rolling hills snake toward the horizon, and deep cuts in the ground suggest furrowed land waiting to be planted. These elements conjure up many associations: a desert, a pasture, or a war-torn countryside.

In the biblical prophecy of the Apocalypse, an angel sounds the sixth trumpet to signal the release of a cavalry that destroys a third of humankind. Kiefer’s rendition suggests parallels with modern military action, but the sunflower seeds swarming in the sky offer a potent symbol of hope. Seeds betoken life and regeneration; the correspondence between heaven and earth in this work is echoed through the falling of real seeds onto the arid painted landscape: a vivid evocation of Kiefer’s faith in the possibility of rebirth even after massive devastation has occurred.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Die Sechste Posaune (The Sixth Trumpet)
Artist name
Anselm Kiefer
Date created
emulsion, acrylic, shellac, and sunflower seeds on canvas
204 3/4 in. × 220 1/2 in. (520.07 cm × 560.07 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis
© Anselm Kiefer
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Anselm Kiefer

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