Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Goethe and Art

Today, we read a few Goethe poems, which seemed fairly natural given the name of the institute. We read the Magician's Apprentice, the Fisherman, and the Erlkönig. The latter, my favorite of the three, is a ballad describing a child pursued by the Erlkönig through the woods, though the child's father is oblivious to the elf king. After reading it through, the teacher played a musical version of it written by Shubert and performed by Jessie Norman. I actually got chills.

After class, I attended a lecture on art in East Germany. Almost no east German artists are widely well known now, not because there were no good ones, but because after the unification the eastern art was all pretty much seen as propaganda and nothing more. We discussed four main artists of the time, one working with the state, and three given unusually free reign to criticize the state due to their popularity.

 In all honesty, I found it difficult to concentrate on the presentation. It was not really the presenter's fault, though she did not give the most exciting talk in the world. I just happened to feel vaguely ill, and the paintings didn't help. Many of them unsettled me somehow to the point that I wished I could paint over the art and wipe them out of existence. That was how I could tell they were good.

1 comment:

  1. I am thrilled that you are getting a break from technology and learning more humanities. I wish we'd embrace that more here in the states. At last - someone in my family now understands what I mean about German Art. It must be experienced and, yes, much of it is disturbing. This gives credence to my claim that while on the outside Germans may seem reserved and constrained, there are demons inside that must be released. I just think life is much sweeter with art, poetry, and music in it.