Athanor was a large furnace used by alchemists who transmuted lead.into gold, as history states, "the fire which the alchemist tames is.not one of destruction but of purification." The nazis used this and in their minds it was for purification as well, but everyone else seen it as horrifying destruction. Anselm Kiefer created this painting in between the 1970's and 1980's. He himself a German, demonstrates the darkness of the holocaust in this piece of art. .
The Painting shows a hall that leads to a furnace door. The painting uses a good form of visual perspective. The vertical lines of the flooring tile lead you to the door, where as the horizontal lines drift you off to the sides some but not completely. The contrast of light and dark colors help with the continuation of this perspective as well. The lighter grays and other colors are up in the front of the painting, where as, the further back the painting goes the darker and darker it gets. The dark colors of gray, blacks and browns in this painting fully express the dismal tone the artist is trying to portray. There are burn marks toward the ceiling of the painting, an illustration that the fires that burnt then still leaves a mark today. Over the doorway of the furnace, it shows the word "athanor" blackened and faded, displaying a symbolic approach to the concept that what was is no more. In addition, the Athanor is painted with somewhat of an impasto, thus creating a textured look throughout the painting creating an even more real look. Overall, Anselm Kiefer and his work on the Athanor created great visual imagery, eliciting deep poignant feelings upon its audience using an association of the holocaust, rather than elaborate gruesome depictions of it. It remains a very profound piece of art today, not only for its composition, but also for its idea and how it expresses it.