German Painting

art, germany, von, pictures, artists, life, century, world, 19th and landscapes

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Unlike the three great men just mentioned their successors were unable to continue the study of Italian art, begun by them, without becoming enslaved by it. Slavish imitation is incompatible with great achievements.. In the world at large Italian art was all powerful, and Holbein, Diirer and Cranach were soon for gotten. The remarkable spectacle is therefore offered of a whole nation turning, as it were, against the achievements of its own great men and following the example of another people. The 17th and 18th centuries in German paint ing constitute in Germany as well as in Italy the age of the imitators. Among the best known German painters of this period are Adam Elzheimer (1574-1620), Balthasar Dea ner (1685-1749), Daniel Chodwiecki (1726 '801), the painter of the period of Frederick the Great, Anton Graff (1736-1815), and the decorative painter Daniel Gran (1694-1757). Toward the end of the 18th century a reaction set in against the imitation of the Italian Renaissance and its excesses. Coinciding with a renewed interest in the classics and a renewed study of the culture of Rome and of Greece, this period is frequently called the Classical Revival. Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-79), Asmus Jacob Carstens (1754-98) and Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807) are the best known ar tists of this period. The early 19th century was characterized by the same interest in the classics, and since classical art had to be studied from extant statutes, i.e., lines rather than color, the classicists laid the emphasis upon draftsmanship, and at times actually spurned color, or at best regarded it as a necessary evil. Genelli (1798-1868), Preller (1804-78), who tried to revive the ancient world in his pictures of the Odyssey, and Rottmann (1797-1850) are the chief exponents of this tendency. They painted also huge landscapes, peopling them with the heroes of antiquity, and lived alto gether in an imaginary world of classical style. It was natural that a reversion of feeling should soon take place. This made itself felt even before the classical style had run its course. A double opposition rose against the classicists, first the opposition of those who be lieved the classicists to be of pagan spirit. These men, who loved to paint scenes from the life of Christ, are called Nazarites, were joined by those who wished to have rich colors in their paintings rather than mere line. These latter are called Romanticists, because the rich and vivid imagination of the colorist is ever ready to forsake the realities of life for the quest of romantic subjects. The best known Nazarites and Romanticists are Cornelius (1783-1867), Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1805-47), Friederich Overbeck (1789-4869), and Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1704-1872). Other good names, well known in many German households, are Rethel (1816-59), von Swind (1804-71), Lud wig Richter (1803-84), and Baron von Blom berg (1820-71). As the natural result of the conflicting art ideals of the Classicists on the one hand and the Nazarites and the Romanti cists on the other hand, there was an increased interest noticeable all over Germany in the technical questions concerning art. Art schools of special prominence appeared in Dusseldorf, Munich, Berlin and Hamburg. The most fa mous schools frequented also by many for eigners, among them notable Americans, were those of Munich and Diisseldorf, where such well-known American artists as Duveneck, Chase, and Ennecking received their instruc tion. Friederich Wilhelm von Schadow (1789 1862) has been called the father of the Diisseldorf School. He succeeded Cornelius as the director of the Academy and became bet ter known as a teacher than as an executing painter. He was the first man in Germany to lay emphasis on a sound technique and to op pose all the weight of his great influence to the erroneous notions that since the what of a picture was of greater importance than the how, the how mattered little. He rightly understood that without technique even the most conspicuous artistic gifts would fall short of accomplishing artistic successes. His teaching was especially needful in Germany at that time because many German painters in their eager quest for the ideas had utterly neglected the ac quisition of a sound technique. Three classes of pictures were especially cultivated in Dusseldorf : Landscapes, historical and romantic incidents, genre. Andreas Achenbach (b. 1815) was weil known for his landscapes; Karl Friederich Less ing (1808-80) won fame in both landscapes and historical paintings; while Ludwig Knaus (1829) gained universal popularity with his genre pictures and occasional excursions into the religious genre. Benjamin Vautier (1829 98), Wilhelm Camphausen (1818-85), and Adolf Schrbdter (1805-75) are among the many other well-known artists of this school. Of the early Munich school it suffices to name Heinrich Burke] (1802-69), H. M. von Hess (1798-1863), Christian Morgenstern (1805-67), and August Riedel (1802-83). In Hamburg Philipp Otto Runge (1777-1810) stood head and shoulders above his colleagues; while in Berlin Franz Kruger (1797-1857) became known for his portraits and pictures of horses, and Karl Eduard Blechen (1798-1840) was the first to anticipate to some extent the phases of tech nique which were destined to become all absorb ing during the latter half of the 19th century. He alone, for instance, at that early day con ceived as beautiful the motive of thin blue smoke escaping from a factory chimney into the soft air of evening. Early in the 19th century a remarkable change took place, and in common with artists the world over, the German painters had their eyes opened to the charms of color, after they, the countrymen of Holbein, had been unconscious of it for cen turies. This change in Germany can be defi nitely traced to the influence of Belgian art, especially the works of Gallait and Biefve, whose gorgeous use of color and realism in composition made the beholders forget their theatrical exaggeration which to-day is most apparent. The new ideas took the strongest hold in Munich, with Karl von Piloty (1826 86) as protagonist. His success in Germany was instantaneous. He was hailed as the prophet of a new art, and in their enthusiasm his con temporaries overlooked the fact that his figures were often posed for effect and that he fre quently forgot the truth of actual occurrences. Hans Makart (1840-84) was Piloty's most famous pupil. He and his art has been suc cinctly described as follows: ((Surrounded with wealth and luxury, and worshipped al most like a god by his contemporaries, he poured forth with incredible velocity the most sensuously beautiful symphonies of color that had issued from the brush of an artist. For

values in the modern sense of the word he had no eye. The slow and thoughtful art of Whist ler he would not have understood. His colors were many and rich; they were meant to win admiration by storm, and had no message for those who love to think and dream over a pic ture. Makart died a young man, rushing through life, a meteor on the art heaven of Germany.' To a certain extent Makart was an individualist, which permits one to group him with the other great German individualists, Bocklin, Feuerbach, Klinger, and Marees. These four great men are alike only in their general attitude toward art. They hated im pressionism —'transcribing nature as you pass along"— and believed that Dart is a speech of emotions. Where words fail, art begins.' Anselm Feuerbach (1829-80) preferred the antique, but unlike the classicists he based his art on emotional rather than intellectual studies. His masterpiece is a picture of Iphigenia —Thee yearning soul in search of Greece and home.' Here the soberness of his style is in perfect harmony with the simplicity of his subject. His very soberness, however, prevented him from winning the success which he so richly deserved, and his reputation is'posthumous. In this respect Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901), a native Swiss, was far more fortunate; for he lived to see himself acclaimed by admiring na tions as the greatest artist of all. His short comings, due in part to his disregard of the correct anatomy of the human body, and often hasty drawing, were forgotten over the sensuous beauty and rich imagery of his compositions. His pictures are fairy tales, and Germany has ever been the home of such tales. This accounts for his enormous popularity. Trees, figures and poses, which in mayhave been unreal, become real in the setting .. e..1din gave i them. Max Klinger (b. 1857) is the youngest and most versatile of this group of artists, and is as well known as a sculptor as a painter. Unlike the others he takes pleasure in solving technical problems, and often sets himself tasks which by their stupendousness would frighten lesser men. His portrait of Beethoven, while not faultless, is the most gorgeous at tempt at portraying superhuman qualities ever made. Unlike Klinger, Hans von Marees (1837 87) refuses to freight his figures with the depths of thought. On the contrary, it has been said of his graceful and correctly modeled figures that mean nothing, are not intended to mean anything, and are content with merely existing.' Their very existence, however, gen erally nude in simple landscapes fills the be holder with an inexpressible delight, if for no other reason than that Da thing of beauty is a joy forever?) Because of his great accuracy in draftsmanship one may be tempted to claim Maries as one of the so-called Realists, from whom choice of subject rather than technique differentiates him. The pioneer Realist of Ger many, if not of the world, and certainly an acknowledged master everywhere, was Wilhelm Leibl (1846-1900). He held that life properly studied is more interesting than dreams about it, and confined himself to observing and accu rately transcribing life. To be successful such an art needs a masterful technique, and this Leibl possessed as few men before him or after him. There are, however, limitations to the art of painting in so far as it is capable of accurately reproducing life, and these limi tations are the limitations of Leibl. Judging by his art he never wished anything greater nor aspired to anything higher than what could be clearly perceived by the sense of sight and be accurately reproduced with the colors on the artist's palet. A greater man than Leibl was Adolf von Menzel (1815-1904), who was one of the most versatile of artists. Realist, to a certain extent he was at the same time the first impressionist of all, for long before the famous Frenchmen became interested in the play of light and what has been called *values,' he bad grown interested in and solved many of the difficult problems of light and shade. In one of his most famous pictures, (The Factory Forge,) he brought order out of a seemingly hopeless chaos, and proved himself a technician second to none. Among the many portrait painters of the second half of the 19th century by far the most famous is Franz von Lenbach (1836), whose (Bismarck, and (Liszt) are known the world over as among the strongest portraits ever penned. He was less successful in the portraiture of women, having to yield the palm in this field to Fried erich August von Kaulbach (b. 1850). Well known in Germany, althciugh of a lesser inter national reputation, are Franz Defregger (b. 1835), who delights in pictures of the Tyrolean peasant life; Eduard van Gebhardt (b. 1838) whose religious pictures can be seen in many households; and MunIcicsy, whose real name was Michael Lieb (1846-1900), whose pictures displayed great pathos and glowed in rich colors. He was a native of Hungary. The *Open Air Art,» which was all prevalent in France during the latter half of the 19th century, found its chief exponent in Germany in Max Liebermann (b. 1849), and in a long list of artists, generally grouped together as *Secessionists.' It is un deniable that this "Open Air» style gave an impetus to art and to individuality in art un like anything that had preceded it, and that it created an interest in painting in the public mind which was most stimulating and helpful to the artists themselves. The end of the 19th century, therefore, and the early part of the 20th saw a revival of art in Germany, and a wealth of talent, which only a later generation will be able to judge and classify according to its desert. Scarbina, Stuck, Thoma, Uhde, Leistikow, Mackensen, Modersohn, Vogeler, Pepino, Fritz Overbeck are only some of the names which it seems certain will survive from the great number of executing artists busy in almost every corner of Germany.

Forster, Geschichte der deutschen Kunst) ; Knackfuss, H., Zimmermann, Max, Gg., and Gensel, W., (Allegemeine Kunst geschichte) (Leipzig 1903) ; von Mach, E., 'Out lines of the History of Painting) (1906) ; Muther, R., of Modern Painting) (1907) ; Deutsche Jahrhundert-Austellung Berlin 1906> (Munchen 1906).

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