When the painting “Family Picture” by Max Beckmann was chosen as the book cover for The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, one can argue that the selection was adequate Essay

Published: 2021-09-11 19:15:07
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Category: Art

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First of all one should look at the bland, sad and unanimated expression that the people in the painting posses. This part of the picture clearly attributes and compares to the bland, boring and unanimated life that the Samsa’s go through daily. On the right corner of the painting there is a man holding what appears to be a newspaper. This connects with the constant mention in the novel of people reading the newspaper, for example the father and the roamers.
On the left side of the painting there is a woman in her undergarment contemplating herself in a hand mirror, but the reflection of her face shows that she lacks eye balls. The undergarment is a clear translation into the job that Mrs. Samsa had to get in order to help out with the economic difficulties that the family was going through. Another interpretation that we can make of the undergarment is that it can be interpreted that the lady in it is Greta who is depicted as somewhat promiscuous. What seems to be unclear is the fact that the face on the mirror has no eyes. One can interpret that it represents the sort of vain and dark perspective that derives from the Samsa women.
On the bottom of the painting there is a boy that is facing his paper, whose body seems deformed yet it positively stands out from the rest of the characters. His deformity and disconnection with the rest of the characters is a way to represent his difference in the rest as Gregor had. Also that fact that his face is not showing can be interpreted as a connection to the main theme of the novella which is existentialism, Max beckmann family picture.
The setting is connected as well with the several images of candles since the cover because the story had several references to night. Also the colors used in the painting set the mood as it is colorful which references the many phases and facets that the family goes through. There is also a lady sitting in the table covering her face which to me represents the remorse feelings that the family lacks yet seems to be a clear vision of what the mom could be since she had a passive and quite role in the novella. The piano in the background may be considered a link between the violin and the usage of music in the novella. The guy laying down on the bench one must represent the lazy lifestyle that the members of the family carried.
The book cover is indeed a very good choice because its elements clearly relate and correlate with the story. The theme of existentialism is clearly developed in the book jacket and pin points key elements and characteristics that set the mood, setting and overall atmosphere of the novella.

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