August Sander

Nun, 1921 (1921)

About this artwork

August Sander photographed this nun standing outside in the Westerwald region, a tree-lined country road receding into the distance behind her. The image is included in the portfolio entitled ‘Occupation’, within the group ‘The Woman’ in August Sander’s documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Including over 500 images, the project was conceived as a typology of the German people, categorised according to their professions, estates and living environments. This full-frontal portrait is closely framed as though we are meeting the nun face-to-face on the road. A rosary hangs from her waist beside her lowered left hand, while her right hand clasps a bible to her side. Her face is elongated into a narrow oval by her wimple, a shape echoed by the silver medallion lying on the severely starched white linen of her dress, against which the flesh of her face is thrown into strong contrast.

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  • title: Nun, 1921
  • accession number: AL00123
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1921
  • measurements: 26.00 x 19.40 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.90 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm) (framed: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
  • copyright: © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

August Sander

August Sander

Considered one of the finest photographers of the twentieth century, Sander's bold style of portrait photography, as well as his typological approach, has had an enormous influence on modern photography. During his apprenticeship in several German studios and his time in his own studio in Austria, he developed his individual style. Then in 1910 Sander moved to Cologne and produced his first large group of photographs, which he later included in his concept "People of the 20th Century". This was created in the mid-1920s and compiled up until the 1950s. He photographed groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society.