Title-page for "Dramas: Opus IX", 1883
etching on japan paper
62.8 x 45.6 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 23131.1)
The title appears on a gravestone set amid classical ruins. Chronos (Father Time) stands on a column and casts his veil of forgetfulness over wretched humanity huddled at the foot of the Cross. On top of the gravestone is a quotation from "Hyperion's Song about Destiny" by the German Romantic poet Hölderlin: "Yet we are given no place to rest." The poem opposes the eternal life of the gods with the fate of "suffering mortals." This inscription is a telling introduction to the series, which depicts imaginary scenes that illustrate the plight of the individual in an industrialized and government-controlled society.