Max Klinger, Die Fakultäten
Etching with aquatint, 1914
As I understand it (and my German is very shaky), this means Faculties as in the Faculties of a University, rather than human faculties, or even the Four Faculties of the Greek physician Galen. Which would mean that the ladies sitting on the rock represent Theology, Law, Medicine, and the Arts. The naked male figure is evidently Sisyphus, and the etching appears now to be generally known as Sisyphus, oder Die Fakultäten. Does anybody have a clue why Klinger should associate Sisyphus particularly with these female figures? Of course everybody feels that much of life is like pushing a rock endlessly uphill, only to have it roll back down just as you reach the brow, but I just don't understand the symbolism here.