Nu History Podcast – 10 – Baroque

Lilly and Alex are joined once again by Analisa from Accessible Art History to talk about Baroque art, sculpture and architechture!

Find more from Analisa at:

accessiblearthistory.com

youtube.com/AccessibleArtHistory

instagram.com/accessible.art.history/

You can listen through Spotify below, or head to Anchor for links to follow on Apple, Google and wherever else you get your podcasts.

Nu History Podcast – Episode 7: Classical Art and Architecture

In this episode Lilly and Alex are joined by special guest Analisa from Accessible Art History, as well as returning guest James, to talk about Greek and Roman art and architecture, focusing on a few particular themes and examples.

Find more from Analisa at Accessible Art History:
accessiblearthistory.com
youtube.com/AccessibleArtHistory
instagram.com/accessible.art.history/

You can listen through Spotify below, or head to Anchor for links to follow on Apple, Google and wherever else you get your podcasts.

Women in Renaissance Portraiture (Extended Edition)

For centuries the depiction of women was kept within the confines of religious, and moral, ideological imagery until the Italian Renaissance swept up the fifteenth century to enhance and entrance the majority of the elite classes in Europe. Christianity had hindered female progress with images that encompassed the traditional values of being a woman while also aligning women as virtuous Holy Mother Mary or as demonic witches who seek to seduce men for their own gain. Portraiture for one did not include women unless they were of the supreme elite. Prior to the fifteenth century when the International Gothic movement held Europe women were painted as ethereal ‘s’ shaped figures with faces indistinguishable from each other. Portrayal of men as kings, warriors and soldiers exist in huge quantities dating back to the Ancient Greek and even further, and you are much more likely to have a visual facial representation appear to be identifiable. On the other hand women, much like their opinions and voice, as much less easily allocated to a specific woman and are less frequently found amongst historical records or art. This post will focus especially on the image of women in the Renaissance since this is a time when female representation, specifically portraits, almost treble in number.

First, we must look at why the Renaissance was such a phenomenon. The fifteenth century saw a huge upheaval in socio-political order allowing for a rise in merchant classes to gain wealth and prestige. Naturally they would want to spend this money and they did abundantly. The merchant classes were the middle ground between men at the bottom of their ladder looking to make a fortune through trade and the aristocracy who rule the land from their royal or ducal coroneted thrones. The merchants wished to emulate the aristocracy in order to make the move upwards a smoother hill to climb and this included copying and influencing the arts. Up until this point in history portraits were saved for the wealthy and powerful royals who needed to be remembered in posterity for the skilled kingship but for their image. But these new found rich men of the Renaissance also wanted to gain long galleries that contained images of their family to be seen for generations to come. All of sudden portraits of men holding the symbol of their guild start to pop up, for example the early Medici clan, alongside their aristocratic brides to signal their rise to greatness if a great lord would permit such a marriage. This was all in honour of conspicuous consumption, the merchants wanted to build and design like stamping their name across it. This is why so many churches were built in Italy with their leading families name and heraldry printed on the front starting being formed, as this was the most the church would allow before extolling the sins of pride, greed or vanity. Portraits were useful, they provided a visual image of someone before a marriage, adorned the walls of a newly gilded home and commemorated those that came before. Here is why the male family leaders starting painting their wives and daughters. It exuded wealth, power and the rise in social status. There is a snag to this growth in female imagery, they are highly idealised. The Northern Renaissance that occurred in the later fifteenth century across the Netherlands depicted men and women in a warts and all concept – nothing was hidden or edited to suit the sitter. However the beginnings of the Renaissance in Italy women were airbrushed to suit the ideals of the time.

Renaissance portraits of women generally intended to convey beauty and the social role of women. Portraits of men generally emphasized their social, political, or professional role, and these portraits were often stereotypically masculine. The function of portraits of male leaders was focussed on politics and their ideal portraits often served as some sort of ambassador of their status during their absence. This shows that men were defined by attributes of profession and social status. But female portraiture in Italian Renaissance art was not meant to be a direct representation of the individual. The purposes of most female portraiture include commemorative works, donor portraits, and images of ideal beauty. When used as a commemorative portrait, lineage and wealth were seen as the most important. Women were often painted in honour of marriage, shown by the age and costume of many subjects of portraits. Other than at the time of marriage, women were rarely seen on display as publicity was necessary to legitimize marriage during the period, and men wished to display wealth and prestige. Much of the time women were painted within the domestic sphere of the home, this included them being hard at work sewing or spinning, or rearing their many expected children.

Many depictions of women were also seen in religious paintings as donors. In Northern Italian courts, donors were portrayed in finery to publicly advertise their wealth. In other courts of Italy, this practice was frowned upon, and female donors were pictured in dark attire with heads covered in white cloth. The costume of a woman in portrait marked their parental and marital identity, and because costume and jewellery conveyed such a large amount of information, artists often focused on the wardrobe as much as the woman, who was considered to be a piece of property herself anyway.

As said before, the women pictured in the portraits of the Italian Renaissance were not often portrayed as specific individuals but as generally ideal women who shared similar facial features with the subject of the portrait. Examples of desired physical traits include a high, round forehead, plucked eyebrows, blond hair, fair skin, rosy cheeks, red lips, white teeth and dark eyes. This is shown in many portraits where they may memorialize different individual women, the images appear to differ only slightly, with many showing equal proportion and perfect symmetry in addition to the other features mentioned. In addition to physical beauty, women were expected to uphold the high moral standards of the time. The virtuous qualities most patrons and artists aimed to portray include humility, piety, charity, obedience, and chastity. The Italian phrase virtutem forma decorat, or ‘beauty adorns virtue,’ shows the common belief in Italian Renaissance society that ideal moral characteristics must be present for women to possess physical beauty, and therefore it was considered that outward appearance was a reflection of inner beauty.

Baroque Splendour in Northern Portugal

As you can see a fair few of us have been on holiday lately – me too. I was lucky enough to have a great trip to northern Portugal during the first couple of weeks of August. I am certain I have mentioned this earlier, but despite having been raised in the Iberian peninsula, my knowledge of Portugal is close to nothing, which is truly upsetting. So this was a very educational trip for me. One of the areas that I found particularly surprised by was the sheer amount of baroque buildings there seem to be in the area where we were staying – roaming between Braga and Porto. As you know, I am sold when art and architecture is involved in the equation so that will be the topic for today’s update.

This extravagant and pompous art style followed similar patterns throughout Europe, partially in connection with the rise of absolute powers in the Continent. However, the Baroque came late to Portugal, only starting to feel its vibe in the 1600s. The country was actually in crisis following the death of Phillip II of Spain – the reign of Phillip III marked the decline of Spanish power, and it most certainly had the same effect for Portugal. By this stage, the Portuguese nobility were retiring to the countryside, abandoning the cities, and a great portion of the Portuguese money coming from Brazil was use for Spanish exploits in the Netherlands, therefore milking both Spain and Portugal to misery by pursuing a war which would not bring any political or social joy to either country. Thus, Portugal faces austerity. As an effect, we see the birth of the Chão style, which was proper of a period with no money to invest in the arts, therefore rather the opposite from the baroque tendencies in the rest of Europe. The Jesuits however contributed to the development of the Chão movement, which was better tuned to their religious as it was less ostentatious and in a sense closer to the laymen – simple buildings, with close to none ornaments inside. Most of these buildings are rather classical in their functional geometric designs, sometimes so bulky that you could easily mistake them with strongholds. So in this way Portugal develops a type of architecture relatively easy and cheap to build and spread across the country, whilst making it practical, and leaving it open to further improvements. In fact, what ends up bringing forward the true Portuguese baroque is not so much the splendour of the actual buildings, but the decorations that are incorporated later. They relied heavily on what is called “talha dourada”: wood carvings which are later on coated in gold (or golden laminates and paints which was more affordable and produced the same effect). Luckily for Portugal, by the 17th century they were already the masters of an art form that compares to nothing else in Europe: azulejo – the decorated tiles. With a combination of these two main artistic productions, many  buildings were enhanced and given the air of grandeur proper of continental baroque. It is not however until the reign of João V already in the 18th century that baroque takes in Portugal a recognizable shape for other Europeans. João brought back stability to his kingdom, and this allowed for the country to flourish again. Nevertheless, even then, the grandeur was incorporated cautiously into the architectural pieces. Luckily for us, it was the north of the country – the area between Braga and Porto – where most of the money was concentrated. Therefore, this is the reason why baroque architecture is so prominent there. And here is where I give you a tour of some of the best examples of Portuguese baroque I found during my trip:

Igreja dos Congregados

Igreja dos Congregados

This church is right in the middle of Braga’s city center and it really stands out. You cannot really perceive this from my picture but the building suddenly appears on the side of the promenade that departs from the main square – Arcada – completely standing out from the 3 story town houses by each side and open plan designed for pedestrian walking.

This is the Arcada square. Its name comes from the many arches that compose the face of the building. You can see the baroque influences in here too, but it is slightly more simplistic and elegant that some other archways found elsewhere during this period,

This is the church as seen from the promenade. As you can see it really stands out.

André Soares started the construction of the building in the 17th century. He was, alongside Carlos Amarante, the main baroque architect of Braga. Although the basilica was consecrated in 1717, it was missing the two towers and sculpture work on the facade. This task was not completed until 1964! The work was completed by the artist Manuel da Silva Nogueira. Currently, the building holds the music depart for the Universidade do Minho.

Palácio do Raio

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This is also the work of Soares. Built between 1754 and 1755, it is considered one of the greatest achievements of this architect due to the asymmetrical contrasts produced by the windows and balconies. Many believe Soares was one of the pioneers of Portuguese Rococo as exemplified by the work on this building. Yet, it seems that the characteristic blue tiles one the facade were actually an amendment commissioned by the second owner of the building Miguel José Raio, Viscount of São Lázaro (1867).

Igreja de Santa Cruz

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This is another example of 17th century Baroque style in Braga. Unfortunately it was one of those buildings that it was refurbished at many stages during and after the Baroque – as many in this area of Portugal from what I understood from a very kind gallery guide who spoke with us at São Pedro de Rates, another sour victim of this mistreatment. It seems that there were some serious issues with material decay inside the building and by the early 18th century, they architects were forced to demolish most of the church and rebuild it to its current shape. The works were completed by 1739. But the reason why this church is significant, is for its abundance of talha dourada of high quality decorating its interior.

Bom Jesus do Monte

As the name indicates, this sanctuary is on the top of one of the mounts in the outskirts of Braga, in Tenões. Apart from being an important pilgrimage, the site is a tourist attraction due to its huge staircase, which really screams Baroque. On each stop it has a fountain, and a little chapel dedicated to The entire complex was commissioned by the archbishop of Braga in 1722, but the old church was demolished in the 1780s and it was given as a project to the other great Bracarense architect: Carlos Amarante. The new church was actually not finished until the 19th century and it rather follows a more Neoclassical style. The altarpiece is dedicated to the Crucifixion. Soares did partake in this construction too, however. He was assigned the work on the chapels behind the church, dealing with scenes after the Crucifixion of Christ keeping the motives through the entire complex.

Torre dos Clérigos

Before I run out of space here, I am going to jump quickly over to Porto. We only went to Porto out for a day trip, and spent most of our time walking around and in museums – more about that some other time. However, Porto is considered the city of the Baroque, and I believe the building that best exemplifies this is Torre dos Clérigos. It is part of the church going by the same name, and considered a national monument since 1910.

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Moreover, the architect behind this work was crucial for the development of the grand or later baroque style in Portugal. His name was Nicolau Nasoni, and he was Italian. He brought the artistic influences of his natal Tuscany to Portugal, were he actually developed his career achieving master pieces such as the above. The tower was built between 1754 and 1763 for the Irmandade dos Clérigos Pobres – a monastic fraternity vowed to poverty. In fact the architect worked on this project for years without being paid, as his benefactors were indeed lacking the funds. (He was, however, remunerated for his work at a later stage). The original project involved the construction of two towers plus the church, however it ended in just the one. The building is 75 meter tall and has a spiral staircase of 240 steps, and its made out of marble and granite.

I hope you found this quick introduction to Portuguese baroque interesting, and that you may find the time to go to spend some time to northern Portugal as it is a seriously lovely area. I will come back with a few more things from my travels but, before I leave, and as corollary of what has been discussed in this post, here I leave you an image of the wonderful organ from the cathedral in Braga – the photo does it no justice what so ever…So go see it for yourselves! 😉

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Art and Architecture in the Age of Louis XIV

It Is Fun Art History With Lilly Time! Yeah! I know you’ve been waiting for this…(I have!)…

As of late, I’ve been swinging by so many different time periods, that I realise how much I had neglected the 17th century! And, of course, what is the 17th century without Versailles and Neoclassicism? ( I could say not much, but the 17th century saw many changes in Europe, particularly from an artistic point of view!). Of course, the artistic development of France during this period is almost single-handedly owed to its ruler, the glorious Sun King, Louis XIV. Indeed, the only thing that could make France more prestigious than it was, were the arts and yes, it was all about the king. Yet, Louis succeeded in giving the public also what they wanted: beautiful looking things that would drag them, at least for a short period of time, out of their miserable lives.

In this context, the arts needed to send the political message of the crown. Although Louis appealed to Baroque, his mind was sure that the purpose of art was not to create an exciting emotion, but to please and, therefore, art had to be controlled to achieve rather aesthetic harmony and orthodoxy – reason why any sort of decorative element created during this period embraces the more classical, ancient Roman style. But Colbert, Louis right hand in this enterprise, knew that a lot of work was going to be required to make this successful. Therefore, artists were brought from Venice and Flanders, while at the same time, France made use of a truly ingenious man:Charles Le Brun. He had the skills and energy that made him a good director for the art academies that were settled in France, in order to attract everyone’s attention in the making of “the state art-machine”. In addition, to make France independent from foreign influences, Colbert put a lot of effort in the development of craft industries, especially those in Lyons, as well as the Gobelins. Tapestries were produced in the Gobelins – particularly well renown are the sets L’Histoire d’Alexandre and L’Histoire du Roi. The Gobelins also excelled at silver work production, although much of it is lost now, due to the melting of most of the silver in France to pay for the kings’ wars…Dexterous silversmiths such as Verbeck and Dutel created vases, our of which the most formidable was Medusa’s head crafted by Loir. However, we only have recollection of this piece thanks its representation on a tapestry at Versailles. Amongst the minor arts, pottery and furniture making  also experienced changes in their motifs, oddly enough to move towards a more Baroque-like style which would also allow for comfort.

In the fine arts developments were  also quickly achieved, even though many of the artists and monuments are/were not as popular as one would have thought. The public is, and was, usually mesmerised by the glory of Versailles, but there were other palaces that played an important role in the development of Neoclassic architecture. In fact the Louvre was a palace, even though Louis barely used it. The works in the Louvre began with the aim to make Paris the magnificent capital that the kingdom needed. The original design for the building was ordered to Bernini, however it was soon abandoned. This event is significant because it meant that France would be following Rome as an example of architectural design rather than producing its own. Thus, the Louvre suddenly became the first symbol of French artistic independence. In the field of sculpture, artists as Jean Wairin flourished. Wairin was a bronze-bust designer, like Girardon and Coseyvox,  who created the great tombs for Cardinal Richelieu and Manzarin. But we cannot forget about the genius dragging the train across the railroad: Le Brun. The conception of The Queen of Persia at the Feet of Alexander the Great, was incredibly influential in French art. In fact it was such a hit that in 1661 it was engraved so those artists with no access to the king’s gallery could study it as part of their educational process.

However, of course, the jewell of French design was the king’s palace. And from this magnificent structure the most amazing feature, I would dare say is the so-called Galerie des Glaces – possibly the most amazing work of mirrors ever – (I was going to discuss the issues of mirrors between France and Venice…But I have done that already: https://nuhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-was-it-espionage-after-all-the-war-of-mirrors-in-17th-century-france-and-venice/ ). Another fantastic feature of the palace is its garden. Now garden decorations were starting to be a big thing in European design, and an important feature even for the smallest country house worthy of awe. Versailles gardens were created by Le Nôtre – who pursued to impose the Neoclassic spirit of man-made harmony on nature itself. This in fact cause many like Saint-Simon to consider the garden aberration. 

Nevertheless, this art machinery which was fuelled by the puppet master Colbert, came to an end as so did the 17th Century, for Colbert died and was replaced by Louvois. Now, many consider this was disastrous for France –  and perhaps, they are right. However, Louvois carried on with the development of the arts, and succeeded to create master pieces. The lasts major works done in Versailles happened during his time as minister. The most important was the Grand Trianon which became the most creative piece of art of the whole régime despite of its ad-hoc nature…The truth is that the Trianon is just one element in the chain of artistic innovations that occurred in France at this time. The creation of a more relaxed creative environment, made possible to question the strict Neoclassic tendencies. So there came a period of opposition in the arts promoted by the Poussinistes and the Rubénistes. The first favoured the art of drawing as a reflection of the mind’s design, while the latter favoured colour use above all, as they believe it transmitted feelings and emotions best. Then there were also issues between the Ancients and the Moderns, which challenged the supremacy of classical tradition and pushed for naturalism. In the end, both the Rubénistes and the Moderns won their battles, and France oozed with creativity once more, becoming somewhat more baroque. The best example of this is the dome of the Invalides by Charles de la Fosse, and the Salon d’Hercule, at Versailles, by Lemogne, which pretty much Rococo.  Perhaps in a way, France truly witnessed its artistic peak during the régime of Louvois. He was the figure that actually allowed all that creative potential to shine, and used it! If the entire point of the enterprise was to develop a truly national French style, then there was no point in making another renewal of what the Greeks and Romans had already achieved.

Of course, this is all a matter of taste… Traditional or not, what cannot be denied is that the 17th century was a key moment in French artistic development. From then on the country would be at the lead of every new tendency and artistic movement. Whether that was thank to Louis vain glory, or his ministers efforts…Well, that, is another story…

 

Oslo’s Artistic Highlights: featuring Vigeland and Munch

Welcome to a post inspired by our recent trip to Oslo! Just like a few months back after my expedition to Denmark, we will be featuring a series of blog posts created from the material collected from the trip – And I say we as Alex was my partner in crime this time. I have decided to open with this post as it was one of the features of this Norwegian capital that striked me most. Oslo is full, ridden almost with art galleries and collections of all sorts! In the short span of time we had, there was only so much we could see  (and as you all know Alex and art are not an expected combo). However, I could not leave without seeing works on these 2 iconic artists. From one side of the city to the other – quite literally – I bring you this post, including photos of my own, a couple of videos (excuse my terrible pulse!) as well as reviews when appropriate. I hope you enjoy it!

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park - at the Monolith
Vigeland Park – at the Monolith

Originally known as Frogner park, this site now is the living work of Gustav Vigeland, dare I say one of the most influential (if not the most) Norwegian sculptors of the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th centuries. Vigeland’s amazing creativity birthed hundreds of creations, including the design for the Nobel Peace Prize. We ought the existence of the park in it current due to the demolishing of Vigeland’s house by the city of Olso in 1921 – after the confrontation between the artist and the city council they provided him with a new building where to work and live. In exchanged he promised that he will donate all his works from there on to the city. Shortly afterwards, Vigeland decided to relocate to the borough of Frogner, where he envisioned the perfect spot for his fountain. He had been thinking for a while on the exhibition of his work in public and out in the open, and so his wishes were granted.

Vigeland's fountain at the centre of the park
Vigeland’s fountain at the centre of the park

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However his installation at Frogner was perhaps his most controversial piece of work. Many of his contemporaries compared his work to that of the Nazis monumental art and aesthetic Arian values. It probably did not help that he did proclaim himself quite happy of the Nazi puppet government in Oslo during the Third Reich.

Walk over the bridge from the fountain to the monumental doors
Walk over the bridge from the fountain to the monumental doors

Statue by the doors of Frogner park of Gustav Vigeland
Statue by the doors of Frogner park of Gustav Vigeland

His old studio and apartment became the Vigeland museum – right next to the park – at the time of his death. That was, after all, the agreement he had reached with the City of Oslo. If you are in Oslo, at any point, the park is really worth a visit – this is just a sample of my pictures there, it is truly otherworldly and such a feat – if I did not know better, I’d say it’s the work of giants.

Nasjonalgalleriet – ascending to Vigeland and Munch

This stop is compulsory – you must visit the National Gallery at Oslo. The National Gallery is part of the huge complex known as the Nasjonalmuseet, which encompasses several buildings, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, all part of the concept behind the National Museum. The permanent exhibition at the National Gallery is called the Dance of Life (after Munch’s work), and also it is not massive, it includes pieces that you’d struggle to find elsewhere. In addition, I would like to say that the conceptualization of the pieces was very well achieved, just like I felt at the National Gallery in Copenhagen. The exhibition is divided in 4 sections: art from the antiquity to the baroque, Romanticism, from impressionism to Munch, culminating with modernism until the 1950s. I will give you a brief look of the pieces I found that I appreciated most – after all, art is personal.

The amazing icons from the Novgorod School! Was not expecting them here. they were absolutly beautiful. This one is the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
The amazing icons from the Novgorod School! Was not expecting them here. they were absolutely beautiful. This one is the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.

Compulsory multiple shots at the “Masters Room” – this are all the pieces donated to the gallery by Christian Langaard, who was an important art collector without whose contribution, the gallery would have not been able to obtain some of these pieces. He died in 1922, and the room was constitutes in 1924.

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Tapestry from the master tapestry makers of this time period – the Gobelins (France).

 

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I would recognise this anywhere even possibly with my eyes closed – if it’s something I appreciate of my Spanish heritage is the great art produced in Iberia, and this is from El Greco (or someone in his school). Produced 1541-164. Jesus Christ Stripped of his Garments. The art style is something unique, and difficult to reproduce – the man had an issue with his eye sight so his paintings are certainly quirky.

Moving on to the Romanticism, here is a selection of my photographs.

You may recognised this guy from my trip to Denmark - Peder Balke. 6 months later, I am still in love with these landscapes.
You may recognise this guy from my trip to Denmark – Peder Balke. 6 months later, I am still in love with these landscapes.

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IMAG1721_BURST002 Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857): the hero of Norwegian painting. He was the first Norwegian painter to reach international fame for his work. The smaller piece really got me – the cracks in the paint kind of add to the somber, gothic landscape, like if it was intentional. Age has only helped this painting even more. Dresden by Moonlight (1838).

Now, on to Impressionism and Modernism.

I brought a print of the painting on the right home - it is by Harald Sohlberg: Winter night in the mountains (1914).
I brought a print of the painting on the right home – it is by Harald Sohlberg: Winter night in the mountains (1914).

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This requires no words of course – it is what I came for.

This is a short video at Munch’s room – I know the comment is rather superfluous but it was so quiet, I felt bad just talking normally.

Leaving the museum, I could not skip the Picasso’s and abstract paintings…

Picasso - Guitar and glass 1911.
Picasso – Guitar and glass 1911.

 

Figurative painting would still be strong in Norwegian art even during the period of abstraction - cubism and symbolism would, nonetheless, creep into the hearts of many artists.
Figurative painting would still be strong in Norwegian art even during the period of abstraction – cubism and symbolism would, nonetheless, creep into the hearts of many artists.

 Munch Museum

It saddens me to say that this was the most disappointing visit of the entire trip. And I will explain you why. As you have seen above, the National Gallery is in ownership of Munch’s most famous pieces – he did after all leave all his work to the city of Oslo as part of his testament, so it is the city’s right to dis play the pieces as they may. But Munch was a very prolific artists. He did not only paint, but also practiced wood carvings, print making, and indulged in sketching. He also experimented with photography. So I was aware, there would be a repository for all the rest, at Munch museum. However it appears that the way the gallery there works is the following: they use Munch’s pieces as permanent exhibit, and display them usually in correlation to another artist, highlighting thematic, concepts and evolution – which is wonderful. However, it seems I was unlucky, for the composition during my visit was Mapplethorpe + Munch. Unfortunately for Mr Mapplethorpe, I am not a huge fan, and although I appreciate his work, I failed to agree with the comparisons produced by the gallery. They tried to compare a 1980s photographer with a serious agenda on sexuality, and more precisely homosexuality, with a man who talked about life, and the world around us, and people – and of course touched on the subject of nudity, bodies and sexuality, but nowhere near in the same degree or with the same intention! To my disappointment there was a lot of Mapplethorpe’s work, and little Munch in contrast – Mapplethorpe as a photographer has a huge portfolio, regardless of how many Munch pieces exist. But it was not all bad. I got to see some very interesting pieces – see the photos and video below.

Dance of Death - Munch's lithograph, 1916.
Dance of Death – Munch’s lithograph, 1916.

 

Munch - Mystical Shore print (1897).
Munch – Mystical Shore print (1897).

*I am afraid the video is interrupted as my phone run out of battery! However I thought you ought to see what I could film*

One last thing to show you before I sign off, is the last pieces of Munch’s art which I was hoping to see here. Munch made a series of monumental friezes for the University of Oslo. I thought they would be exposed out in the open – what was my surprised that I had to get in and out of the exhibition twice to realise they were locked behind doors in a conference room! But, in any case, I managed to take a couple of pictures – despite there is a bit of reflection, they are so worth it.

Alma Mater
Alma Mater

 

The Sun - like nothing I've ever seen before.
The Sun – like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

I tried hard to take a good shot of History, but from that angle is was very difficult. I suspect the reason why they are locked has to do with preservation issues, which is a shame because those beauties deserve an entire audience just for themselves.

And with this we come to an end of this first piece on Oslo’s interesting history and heritage. Drop by for some more shortly!

A Guide to Norman Art and Architecture in Southern Italy and Sicily

Once again, I am doing a runner back to my roots. When I graduated from University, I had done more work on art history and the Normans that there were modules available, I swear – probably because that it what my dissertation was about, but regardless, Norman art and architecture, the peak of the Romanesque, the Bayeux Tapestry, you name it. My parents even took me to Normandy to experience the glory of the old great duchy in real life. Now, another thing you may all well know me for is for anything that involves intercultural syncretism ideas. And what best to put them both together than a post on the artistic works of the Normans during their rule in Italy, and particularly Sicily? Well, get ready then, because I am about to get technical with this stuff!

If you are jumping on the boat of Norman studies, ditch Caen and Rouen, forget the British Isles and take a trip to the Mediterranean. Why? Because despite the field is evolving, there is still a lot of research to do in their rule over Italy and Sicily, due to the great cultural exchange and the intrinsic political and social dynamics of their reign.

So lets start with the architectural side of things. The Normans arrived nicely to the shores of the Mediterranean, most of the second and third sons of Norman lords, who had not a plot of land for themselves and that perhaps could not be bothered to make it all the way to the Middle East. Everyone knows that buildings are sign of power and lordship, therefore they then start erecting new structures, both for secular and religious purposes. As Norman builders were masons, stone was normally their main resource for construction. However, once they got used to the surroundings its materials and traditions, they incorporated the use of brick and mortar for the creation of vaults, and also rubble for the thick walls, creating different textures and polychromatic effects. They used two different types or arches. The rounded arch was used for small openings, window-frames and decorative purposes, while the pointed arch, which was adopted from the Islamic population, had its uses in the major openings of the buildings. Another common characteristic is the use of regional motifs. Instead of getting rid of the old decorative elements of each region and imposing prototypical Norman patterns, they actively promoted these ornaments and integrated them in their constructions, allowing to prevail the distinct character of the local artists. This is the reason why even nowadays interlaced arches, string courses and rose patterns can be distinguished in many churches, like in St.Maria la Nuova (Monreale).

From WikiCommons Inside of the cloister of Monreal Cathedral

The mesmerising architecture can be found all across the area. For instance, there is a large collection of domed basilicas in the zones of Valdemone and Calabria, dating from c.1091-1130 which are believed to have been, at least originally, orthodox churches for the large Greek population of the realm. A common feature of the Apulian churches, which is very well represented by the one in Trani, is that their apse is directly projected from the transept. Also, there are some evidences of Moorish architectural influence. An example of this could be the tower of the cathedral of Cefalù, which K.J.Conant described as “North-African minarets in design”. Islamic influence can also be seen in Sicilian Norman castles, like La Zisa. Apparently, the Normans ‘recycled’ these very appealing and elegant Muslim castles, rather than building their typical motte and bailey ones, although there are few examples of the latter, like the one in Petralia Soprana, and even one carved in the rock in Sperlinga. Last but not least, there is even the strange case of a church in Venosa (La Trinità), that was never finished, but its layout suggest that otherwise, it would have been one of the few Norman churches in Italy to have a stereotypical French ambulatory and radiating chapels. It has been suggested that the reason why the project was abandoned had something to do with the moving of patronage influence from Apulia to Sicily.

In what concerns the art, the influence of the Byzantine civilization is quite pronounced, as the Atlantes of the cathedral of San Mateo (Salerno) represent. Also,this is clearly seen in the use of mosaics for wall decoration in practically every single church of the area. Mosaics present a great advantage for ornamental purposes as the colour does not fade away, it is elegant, and both geometrical and figurative patterns can be created with no problems, as it can be seen in those about Geoffrey of Antioch in the church of la Martorana. The mosaic skills got mixed with the Norman traditions to create wonderful pavements such as those made by the monk Pantaleone in the cathedral of Otranto, representing scenes from the Bible. Despite of the use of mosaics, the fresco tradition was not left behind. The best specimens are found in the church of San Angelo in Formis (near Capua). L.I.Hamilton has the theory that the meaning behind this work commanded by abbot Desiderius is linked with his reforming character, and these would be the images that reflected his religious dominance in Capua.

Modern copy of the Tabula by Al-Idrisi

On Islamic influence, the most relevant work to be mentioned, without considering the planisphere from ‘The Book of Roger’, by the Arab geographer al-Idrisi, would be the honeycomb ceiling of the Capella Palatina (Palermo). This wonderful ceiling is covered with painted stalactites, which work has been attributed to Muslim artists working shortly after the consecration of the chapel (c.1140). There was a great deal of ivory work within their culture. Ivory was a very precious material, and because of its rarity, it was used for very special and important artefacts. The best example of this could be one of the caskets found in the Treasury of the already mentioned Capella Palatina that is meant to contain the privileges of chapel, which is quite rare and likely the reason why it was kept in this ivory box. Furthermore, it would be a crime if i did not mention the metal work produced at the doors of the cathedral of Trani made by the local artist Barisano. Finally, a quick mention to manuscript illumination, as it differed from what is known elsewhere about the Normans. Oddly enough, considering the great Anglo-Norman tradition of manuscript keeping and decoration, there are not many from the southern lands. There is notice of a copy of the Homilies in the area of Troia, and an epistolarium of marked muslim influence from Palermo. But, the most important is the Expositio Orationis Dominicae, by Maio de Bari (12th C), which is the only Sicilian manuscript preserved from this period that also contains some traces of illumination.

But perhaps the most important aspect of everything the Normans created in the south had to do with their identity. R.H.C Davis questions if these were the same Normans than those from Normandy or England, as he supports the theory that they were trying to portray themselves as new Byzantine emperors rather than anything else. It has to be considered that these Normans left their home-land some years before it reached the glory days of William the Conqueror, and even though they kept in touch, something was changing. The feeling rises that when the Normans established themselves in the Mediterranean their drive was not one of simple conquest but of ‘new found land’, a whole new place to start with their lives again, to make a difference…to take a chance. And that is precisely what they did. They did not just brought together several different cultures and make a Norman version of it. They adapted and bent them in a way it was understandable for everyone, it did not matter if your origin was Greek, Moorish or from up north. And this is reflected in their art. It was not a new Romanesque…it was not even Romanesque any more. It was something different, something unique from those lands. Art was the instrument these Normans used to create a whole new identity for the population of these territories, to preserve their diversity, to create a strong and united kingdom.

On a final note, I’ll give you a sample of the bibliography one can dig from the Martial Rose library at the University of Winchester in order to find anything of use on this subject (this is not including the generic art books…sad but true)- note the old dates – remember my comment on the field that needs to improve? Get on it!

-Browne, E.A., Great Buildings and How to Enjoy Them: Norman Architecture (London, 1907)

-Buchthal, H., ‘The Beginnings of Manuscript Illumination in Norman Sicily’, Paper of the British School of Rome, Vol. 24, (1956), pp. 78-85

-Conant, K.J., ‘The Two Sicilies’, Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture, 800 to 1200, (Harmondsworth, 1973), pp. 214-224

-Davis, R.H.C., The Normans and Their Myth (London, 1976)

-Diringer, D., ‘Italy: Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries’, The Illuminated Book; its History and Production, (London, 1967), pp. 294-307

-Hamilton, L.I., ‘Desecration and Consecration in Norman Capua, 1062-1122: Contesting Sacred Space during the Gregorian Reform’, The Haskins Society Journal, Vol. 14, (July, 2005), pp. 137-150

-Matthew, D., The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (Cambridge, 1992)

-Nicklies, C.E., ‘Builders, Patrons, and Identity: the Domed Basilicas of Sicily and Calabria’, Gesta, Vol. 43, No. 2, (2004), pp. 99-114

-Norwich, J.J., The Normans in Sicily: The Normans in the South 1016-1130, and, The Kingdom in the Sun 1130-1194 (London, 1992)

-Pinder-Wilson, R.H., and Brooke, C.N.L., ‘The Reliquary of St. Petroc and the Ivories of Norman Sicily’, Archaeologia, Vol. 104, (1973), pp. 261-305

-Ville de Caen, ‘Les Normands, peuple d’Europe’, www.mondes-normands.fr

Lilly’s “Copenhagen Cultural Rave” Continued – Rundertaarn and SMK

Ok, more from my trip to Denmark – yes, I do enjoy my cultural raves…- Today is just a walk through/review of the Round Tower and the National Gallery of Denmark. The reason why these 2 have been chosen – aside from the ones I have already talked about – is because they were in a way or another formative or educational from my point of view. I got to experience a part of history I was not familiar with and this gave me more insight into the country I was visiting and its culture. So, I hope that with my pictures and quick explanations, you get a hint of this!

Rundetaarn

The Round-Tower is located in the city center of Copenhagen and is one of the most symbolic monuments of all Denmark.

It is a pretty impressive building, you cannot miss it.
It is a pretty impressive building, you cannot miss it.

The building is 34.8 metres high, and the only way to access the top is a spiral ramp, which is 209 meters long and twists 7 times and a half around its hollow core. This is a unique feature, unmatched in European architecture. The venue is both an exhibition hall, cultural centre as well as the oldest working observatory in Europe. It was erected by King Christian IV between 1637-1642. The objective was for this structure to hold a university library, a student church – to which it is still attached, and the astronomical observatory. The library fit its purpose up until 1861. This university library must have been one of the largest in Denmark. Opened in 1657, it used to host a collection of 10000 books. After the collection was moved elsewhere, this section of building was used for various purposes, including an art studio as well as the depot for the Zoological Museum. Nowadays it has been restored to its original function as a learning environment – exhibition hall. Right above this room, is the Bell-Ringer Loft – currently holding the bells for the Church of the Trinity – annexed to the Rundertaarn. Instead it is used as another gallery with artefacts related to the building, as well as providing a look into the 1729 dated pinewood beams that form part of the structure. This part of the building is older due to its reconstruction after the great fire of Copenhagen (1728). On the way up to the observatory one can find the planetarium – a 20th century replacement for the original 3 dimensional model by Bayer from c.1740.

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The new planetarium

Finally, we reach the observatory – it wasn’t until I was up there that it occurred to me how important feature of Danish history this was. Since Peder Nightingale in the 13th century, Denmark has had a long history of astronomers. The most famous of which are Tycho Brahe and Christian Longomontanus – in honour of whom the facility appears to have been built. Brahe however died before its completion, yet Longomontanus seems to have been one of the first people to observe the firmament from this location as the first professor of astronomy as the university.  Perhaps Brahe’s most important work – multiple instruments aside – was the star-table that explained in accurate ways the movement of the moon and position of certain planets. Many say this work was crucial for Kepler’s laws later on. Ever since, the Rundertaarn has been

SMK – National Gallery of Denmark

The second part of todays post is regarding the SMK – National Gallery of Denmark.Again, like with the Nationalmuseet, I have been in many great galleries (NG in London, El Prado, Le Louvre, Uffizi), so in that sense I’m not inexperienced with big visual collections. And in that sense, perhaps the SMK cannot rival with the quantity of brilliant pieces that others may. However, what I think was the highlight of the exhibition was the opportunity to learn about some Danish and Northern European art! Europe is so prolific, with great artists all over, that somehow, somewhat, I was ashamed that the art historian in me couldn’t name a single Scandinavian artist that I genuinely knew – or liked! So this was rather enlightening. Pictures to come – In addition, the actual building itself was magnificent 19th century built with 3 levels – reminded me a lot of the Kunsthistorische from Vienna.

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The facade of the SMK

Yet this building is in itself a modern art revelation. As the collection grows, it is obvious the space within becomes smaller. Many have been the museums and historical buildings I have seen butchered by a clumsy modern addition or that have been dismembered in different buildings forming a complex where to hold the exhibition. Here however, Scandinavian design shines – Instead of breaking a wall or attaching something to it, they have expanded the back of the SMK with glass panels and metallic beams, opening the space and bringing in the bigger picture, the outside world that inspires these paintings. In fact, the display is rather artistic as it opens into the botanic gardens. I couldn’t think of a better way of creating a gallery for modern art than this. It just felt right.

In any case – the building is pretty big and it hold several collections. Time was precious so I had to choose. So I decided the way forward was: European art 1300-1800, Danish and Nordic art 1750-1900, and Scandinavian art since the 1900s. The European art gallery walked through works from Italy, Holland and the Flemish artists, France and its impact on Danish taste and culture, and a general overview of Scandinavian artists around this period.

In no particular order, here are some of the pictures I took - again no spacific reason for why these peices and not others, some because I like the artists, some because due to lighting issues the pictures would not look good. One thing that deeply surprised me was how close you could actually get to the pieces. At the National Gallery in London I was told off once for being at 50cm distance from a Rembrandt!
In no particular order, here are some of the pictures I took – again no specific reason for why these pieces and not others, some because I like the artists, some because due to lighting issues the pictures would not look good.
One thing that deeply surprised me was how close you could actually get to the pieces. At the National Gallery in London I was told off once for being at 50cm distance from a Rembrandt!

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Andrea Bregno (1418–1506) – John the Baptist and St Jerome

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Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s St John the Baptist c.1337-1342

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Pieter Brueghel den Yngre (1563-1637/8) – The Way to Calvary

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Peter Paul Rubens – The Ascent to Calvary c.1634 Noticed a theme in here with John and Calvary…Absolutly not intentional!

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Loved this room with the space in the middle to sit down, look, enjoy and learn as the sits are also bookshelves with reference material!

The gallery on Danish and Nordic art 1750-1900 has a pretty self-explanatory name, but I will elaborate a bit more. The way they have designed this section is by contextualisation. Therefore you get introduced into Danish art and its context within Northern Europe and other Scandinavian work. This is not divided in sections with only Danish, Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish art pieces, but rather it displays them all together, allowing the viewer to see the different artistic developments and influences across this area of Europe. Finally, there is also a smaller section which reflect on the borrowings from mainland Europe and the dialogue between Danish art and the input of other countries. Personally, I preferred this arrangement better than the one from the European gallery – I think it really helped seeing the cultural associations and trends, so for the ignorant I was, this was a much easier way to get tuned into Northern art.

Immediatedly became my favourite. By Peder Balke - Mount Stentind in Fog c. 1880
Immediately became my favourite. By Peder Balke – Mount Stentind in Fog c. 1880

Bottom right: Julius Paulsen -Midsummer Night at Tisvilde Beach 1886. Prins Eugene - Ships at Anchor.Winter 1908 and Gustav Fjaestad - The First Breath of Cold on the Water 1895 (left and top respectively)
Bottom right: Julius Paulsen -Midsummer Night at Tisvilde Beach 1886. Prins Eugene – Ships at Anchor.Winter 1908 and Gustav Fjaestad – The First Breath of Cold on the Water 1895 (left and top respectively)

Not only paintings but also sculpture...unable to identify this one as the names were on the walls away from the actual pieces
Not only paintings but also sculpture…unable to identify this one as the names were on the walls away from the actual pieces

These 2 are by the Danish artist Willumsen (1863-1958)
These 2 are by the Danish artist Willumsen (1863-1958)

This is the extension of the gallerywith view of the botanic garden
This is the extension of the gallery with view of the botanic garden

And with these, I close my third post on Denmark. Watch out for more to come!

Somerset House (London): One Morning, 2 Exhibitions

Hello again. Here I come to tell you some more about my trip to London during the August bank holiday weekend, packed with culture. So on Saturday 29th me and my dad stopped by Somerset House, a nice Neoclassical building on the Strand in London – just crossing the river from Waterloo train station. As it happens, Somerset house is free, and as we had never stopped by, we decided to go and see what it could offer. Turns out that week they had several temporary exhibitions going – the building is generally speaking an arts center and it works as a gallery/museum. As we were a bit short of time, we focused on 2 of the collections they were presenting- Unseen Waterloo: The Conflict Revisited, and Out of Chaos. Both of them I would recommend if you have the chance or come across them (the first one ended on August 31, but Out of Chaos should be there until December 13 2015). I will not go in too much details or give too much of a long overview, as both of them were based on art works, I swear I could spend ages on each piece…So I will try to give you a general idea of what both exhibitions presented and why they are worth while.

Unseen Waterloo: The Conflict Revisited

Exhibition Cover Image including one of the re-enactment drummers at Waterloo
Exhibition Cover Image including one of the re-enactment drummers at Waterloo

Obviously, you will remember earlier on this year Michael did a post in commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo 1815. However, this exhibition is not so much about the actual conflict, but the representation of itself. This is a collection of portraits produced by the artist Sam Faulker. He has been travelling to the site of the re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium since 2009 and taken pictures of the people taking part in the event. A few details about the photographer may come in handy. Sam Faulkner grew up in Norwich and graduated with a philosophy degree from king’s College london in 1994. He then became a reporter and photographer, which has driven a lot of his work to be related to warfare – he was in Afghanistan. Effectively, Faulkner has replaced the traditional artist drawing portraits of the soldiers on the spot, by taking pictures of these in full historical custom. These garments are created by the individuals, as accurately as possible from period paintings available and known to the public. In total, the exhibition presents 70 images, which are displayed on walls covered by Hainsworth fabric: the red woollen cloth that they used to dress the “red-coat” soldiers in 1815. ( And the cloth that still nowadays creates the garments of the Royal Guards). I thought this was a very nice detail; as all the pictures are portraits with a black background the red makes a nice visual break, and contextualises all the images in an actual physical way. The portraits include a variety of soldiers from different nationalities (British, French, German, Prussian, Dutch), including different regiments and ranks-from grenadiers to dragons, drum players and marechals. It truly brings alive the diversity amongst the troops and the kind of people who would take part in the war. It is a very original way of exploring warfare and its human face, while using modern techniques! Fresh and innovative.

 

Another example of the profiles this photographer was looking at and creating.
Another example of the profiles this photographer was looking at and creating.

Out of Chaos“Exploring a century of émigré history in London through the hidden treasures of the Ben Uri Collections”

Exhibition leaflet
Exhibition leaflet

 

They are currently holding this in the Indigo rooms, so the exhibition entrance is at the top and the you go downs the stairs for the display. This is also an art exhibition, so you will find paintings, portraits, but also carvings, and even more modern media – posters, film, etc. The exhibition is constituted of a main hall as you go in, followed by a brief introduction of what the project is about, a history timeline regarding Jewish movement and migration, then the topic of immigration in general, with a focus on the Jewish community, and finally the archive section at the end of the hall. In addition, there are 5 lateral rooms where the specific themed discussions take place.  The first room on the left discussed integration and introduction, so this is developed through the art works of the Yiddish artists settling in the East End of London and how they incorporated themselves to British society. The work displayed includes several artists such as Simeon Solomon, Lily Delissa and Alfred Wolmark. Then we move into the second room which goes through the time of conflict – First World War- and how this affected the Yiddish community. This is the section where they speak about the ‘Whitechapel Boys’, and their contribution to British modernism, with the works of David Bomberg, Mark Gertler and Isaac Rosenberg amongst others.

The third room drop us into the issues of Jewish identity and the rise of the Nazi regime. It also explores the subsequent movement of people from central/easter Europe into the western areas of the continent, particularly the UK. The works display are from Max Liebermann, Josef Herman and Emmanuel Levy and a few more. The fourth room on out left still covers the Yiddish community in the post-war period and its artistic development. This is a period for the bloom of abstract and conceptual work, and some of the pieces, I found quite interesting, perhaps even naive in a way. Look out for Leon Kossoff, Eva Frankfurther and Bernard Cohen. Finally the last room, (5) is at the end of the corridor on the right hand side. It is entirely dedicated on the new art, particularly since the recent turn of century. They also play a film about Ben Uri as a way of contextualising the room, the exhibition and what they believe to be the future of Yiddish art and its community in the UK.

What I thought was great of this exhibition, which perhaps the other one lacked, was the degree of interaction with the information displayed. I mean, you cannot interact a lot with a painting – apart from looking at it…- but they had incorporated some digital devices as well where you could explore further paintings in context of the ones in display, or where you could look into the artists with a bit more of detail. I thought that was useful. They also had several books around for the same purpose that you could used as a reference. In addition, we missed it but they did have talks and tours around the gallery, and evening events, so it was quite a dynamic environment.

One thing I found incredibly disappointing was the amount of people visiting either of these exhibitions. Morning/Lunch time on a saturday, bank holiday weekend, with bad weather, the city plagued with people everywhere, and I am sure we were alone at stages, at least in the Waterloo portraits, and with not much more company in the Ben Uri gallery. Considering that they were both free, small so not overwhelming at all, I thought they would deserve more attention! But in any case, they were enjoyable. If this has instigated you to go have a look, I will at least be pleased.

The Trauma of War: through the Lenses of Beckmann, Kirchner and Apollinaire

Following our First World War timeline, today I will be guiding you through a pretty rough patch, which is the living scars the war perpetrated in the creative souls of its time. Several artists, writers and performers served their country and formed part of the troops that were helplessly thrown into the battlefield with little hope for survival. Many died. Others endured the nightmare and took their terrors back home, and this is reflected in their works. There are many of these people who deserve attention, but Beckmann, Kirchner and Apollinaire reflect and summarise well their case study. Before I tell you their stories, I am afraid I’ll have to warn you, they will not have a happy ending, and they have in fact moved me. So if you are sensitive, take this with a pinch of salt…

The three artists were born in the 1880s, an era where the arts were heaving. Max Bechmann was born in Leipzig (Saxony). Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, was German as well, from Aschaffenburg, (Bavaria). Guillaume Apollinaire’s back ground is, however, more intricate. He was born in Rome, under the name of Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, but he grew up in France- his name for sure gave away already that his ancestry was Polish. Bechmann served in the war as a medical orderly, and spent a lot of time surrounded by the wounded. Kirchner volunteered to the army in capacity of driver for the reserve unit of the 75 Mansfeld Field Artillery Regiment- he was eventually discharged due to a mental breakdown. Apollinaire fought in the war and received a wound to his head, in the temple from which he never fully recovered. The traumatic experiences of these three artists coincide with a moment of change or self-development in their styles.

In the case of Bechmann, it was after the war that his academic style changed into something twisted, deformed. His visions of space and figures would become his resource for success. He achieved great renown because of his self-portraits, which reached numbers and intensity close to those of Rembrandt and Picasso. Kirchner’s experience is somewhat similar. He was one of the founders of the “Die Brucke”, one of the leading groups that contributed to the foundation of Expressionism.  However, since his unsettling experience as a military volunteer, he started producing many paintings of himself as a soldier. This eventually lead to his admittance in a sanatorium in Königstein in Taunus in December 1915. He was there diagnosed with a severe addition to alcohol and Veronal-which was used as a sleeping aid until the 1950s. Since there on Kirchner’s emotional stability got in the way of his artistic production, and even though he had moments of splendor and financial security, his issues ended up getting the best of him. After 1920, when he was experiencing good health, his art started deriving towards the abstract end of the scope. However, with the rise of Nazism, the works of both artist were classified as degenerate art by Hitler and his associates. As a result, many of their art works were confiscated, or even repudiated, making the selling and the exhibition of Bechmann’s and Kirchner’s pieces extremely difficult. The artistic disturbances created by the Nazis lead both artists to flee their fatherlands. Bechmann moved to the Netherlands in an attempt to obtain a visa to travel to the United States. Kirchner looked for refuge in Switzerland.

Meanwhile in France, Guillame Apollinaire’s career took a different path from those of the German duo. The artist was versed in a different creative branch, for he was foremost a poet, writer and art critic. He was well acquainted with Picasso, and was a great defender of Cubism as a concept. Moreover, it was Apollinaire who first used the terms Orphism and Surrealism in 1912 and 1917 respectively. In addition,  he did work on several poems about the war during this time, although these were not published until after his death. These were his famous Calligrammes, so in that sense they are a form of visual poetry, where the spacial disposition of the words and letters is just as meaningful as the writing itself. This eccentric type of productions linked with Surrealism is what he focused and developed in-depth after the war. Unfortunately for Apollinaire, his battle trauma was not so palpable in his pieces, as in the case of the Bechmann or Kirchner; instead it was very real and very physical. The injury in his head caused him to suffer from very poor health, and contributed to his untimely death in 1918 due to influenza during the Spanish Flue outbreak.

Some recordings of his work can be found online http://www.ubu.com/sound/app.html

As for the German artists, their future was not much brighter. After the inclusion of Austria into the Third Reich’s territories, Kirchner became greatly disturbed by the possibility of the Nazis taking over Switzerland. This also coincided with a time where he experienced particularly bad health. His physical and mental state lead him to take his own life with a gun on the 15th of June, 1938. As for Bechmann, he eventually moved to the states where he worked as an art teacher in a few institutions such as the Washington University in St Louis and the Brooklyn Museum. He passed away at the end of 1950 after suffering a heart attack. Nevertheless, the art of Bechmann, and that of Kirchner likewise, survived in the United States, where both their art works have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art (New York). They became deeply influential for the new generations of American modernist. As for Apollinaire, he was the poet of his time in France, and a role model for many to come since then. His work resounded in the Futuristic and Surreal tendencies of Europe, not only for those of pen and paper, but also for artists and even film producers. These individuals, with their deep traumas and troubling experiences showed the world, through their eyes what the world was experiencing: a time of change, of commotion. A time, indeed, very twisted and dark, but equally innovative. Their names may not be taught in schools, to the same degree of others like Picasso, but perhaps they should, as a signifier of the impact that the Great War had not only on the nations that played a part, but in their people, and said people’s minds.