In his art, Franz Marc sought to venture into the sphere of the “spiritual nature of things” and, in doing so, came upon the image of the animal, which symbolized the creature-like innocence that had been lost to mankind. Much impressed by Robert Delaunay’s works, Marc dissolved his paintings into prismatic forms from 1912 on. This was the artist’s most important creative phase, which culminated the following year in Deer in the Flower Garden. In terms of form and color, the animal completely dissolves in the crystalline facets surrounding it. Its tender body and curving neck correspond to the soft, round forms of the plants. On the eve of World War I, however, a threatening moment has entered Marc’s otherwise so harmonious unity of animal and nature: The animal has a hunted air about it, warily throwing its head backwards. It is being attacked from the side by a sharp wedge, and the reddishorange parts prompt us to associate them with bleeding wounds. For this reason, the deer stands in the pictorial tradition of the Agnus Dei, the sacrificial Lamb of God. And because it blends in with nature, it also portrays the cycle of growth and decay. With the outbreak of World War I, Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider artists’ group) broke up, which the ideally matched personalities of Vassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc had headed in Munich since 1911–12. Marc volunteered for the army and fell in France in 1916.