The Slavonic Cock Crow - 1947

The Slavonic Cock Crow

Werner Berg is the chronicler of the Carinthian Slovenes and their territory in a time which is now over. With all formal pretence the pictures of Werner Berg – his paintings perhaps more than his woodcarvings – are also documents at the same time. They are a testimony to a race of people on the border between the German and Slavic speaking areas and these are clinging to a way of life which is only reluctantly and gradually escaping from the old agrarian ties at the turning point of different eras.

This type of person is shown in resoundingly impressive form in the “Slavonic Cock Crow” from 1947. Under the crucifix we find the small farmer or cattle trader looking around shocked as if we had surprised him in some private matter. Here it is only the cock which suddenly opens up its beak and starts to crow wildly that breaks the deathly silence suddenly.

The unique thing in this picture, like in many others by Werner Berg, is the relationship which ties together man and the countryside. The man has become very red in the face. The same redness lights up from the mountain chains in the background and before the morning sky. The whole of nature goes red when the cock crows. We find the same angularity in the faces as in the mountain formations, the same angled roughness in the movements of the people as in the contours of the mountains, trees, benches, fences. Man and nature refer to each other with many signs.

Back to List