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Sieger Köder, “The Meal,” from the Lenten veil Hope for the Excluded, 1996, detail

Table Fellowship

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Sieger köder (1925–2015) was a German soldier in World War II who was captured while fighting on the front lines in France. Upon his release, he first trained as a silversmith, then enrolled in Stuttgart’s State Academy of Art and Design.

Köder painted and taught art for twelve years before beginning a new course of study in Tübingen: Catholic theology. Ordained as a priest in 1971, he pastored until his retirement in 1995, but he never stopped painting.

Drawing from both vocations, Köder’s art flourished during his years of ministry. His altarpieces, paintings, frescoes, and stained glass windows can be found throughout Germany and beyond. His interpretations of the crucifixion, of innocent suffering, have a clarity born of his own history of war and captivity. Some have called him a “preacher with pictures.”

But as his work gained worldwide recognition, he refused to take credit himself. In one interview, he said, “People come to Ellwangen asking to see the painter. If they’re that interested in the painter, then they haven’t understood the paintings.”

Sieger Köder, “The Meal,” from the Lenten veil Hope for the Excluded, 1996

Sieger Köder, “The Meal,” from the Lenten veil Hope for the Excluded, 1996

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