Nineteenth Century German Drawings And Water-Colours. Cunstmuseum Dusseldorf. 1976Nineteenth Century German Drawings And Water-Colours.

From the Collections of the Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf.
An Exhibition arranged by the National Gallery of Ireland and the Goethe Institute Dublin to mark the Bicentenary of the Chair of German at the University of Dublin, Trinity College.

Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf. 1976/
Catalague and Introduction: Dieter Graf.

Printed in W.-Germany by Triltsch-Druck Dusseldorf.
Coverplate F.Horney, View of Subiaco, Cat. № 44.
Страниц: 64 стр.
Иллюстраций 50 ч/б.

 

Introduction

The numerous, sometimes antagonistic, streams within German nineteenth-century art, commonly described as Classicism, Romanticism, Realism and Historicism, have one thing in common: the importance of drawing. The idealistic art of Romanticism, particularly that of the Nazarenes, is predominantly determined by the line. It owes this on the one hand to Classicism and, on the other, draws new inspiration from the graphic art of the Diirer period. It finds its purest expression in the drawing.

Many artists, such as Pforr, Horny, Fohr and Erhard, expressed themselves mainly or exclusively in drawings and in watercolours. Cornelius considered his work to be fully realised in the elaboration of the drawing in cartoon form. With painters such as Overbeck, Schnorr and Rethel, we value their studies, designs and painterly drawings, more highly than their finished pictures, in which their mastery of painting is not equal to the scale. Artists whose interest was concentrated above all on the reflection of the phenomena of nature and the surrounding world, represented these primarily in drawings. The freely drawn sketches of Hans von Marees, in which his fancy searches for objective forms, give an exciting insight into the creative process of the artist. Artists like Piloty, who were highly praised by the official art critics of their time, and whose large historical paintings receive scant attention today, reveal their artistic ability most readily in their drawings. In no other field is artistic creativity expressed as clearly as in drawing.

«Slavish studying at the Academy leads to nothing,» wrote Friedrich Overbeck, aged nineteen, to his father in Liibeck in 1808. «If there has been no historical painter since Raphael’s time,» he continued, «as one can almost say, then the fault lies with the admirable academies. One learns to paint splendid drapery, correct figure-drawing, perspective, architectural drawing — in short, everything; and yet no painter emerges. AII modern paintings lack heart, soul, feeling — but these, of course, may well be of little account!

«Raphael was perhaps a lesser draughtsman than many who came after him, did not paint nearly so beautifully as many another, and yet no-one can hold a candle to him. Where is one to look for this seemingly unattainable? Where he looked for it — and found it — in nature and a pure heart.»

Having the ability to recognise and formulate his artistic aims at an early age, Overbeck became the leader and spokesman of a small circle of young, like-minded painters in Vienna: Sutter and Wintergerst, Vogel and Hottinger, who gathered round him and his friend Franz Pforr.

Like Overbeck and Pforr, they rejected the imitation of the antique ideal, in the sense of Winckelmann and Mengs, which was required by the Academy, and they recognised the sterility of the strictly organised academic educational establishments, which confined themselves to a systematised transmission of formalistic, rigid and out-dated forms of pseudo-classicism.

They were not the only German artists, nor indeed the first, to revolt against the Academies. We have examples of scathing comment expressed on the meaning and use of…..

Adolph von Menzel. Studies of Heads. 1866. Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf

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