Tag Archive for 'art'

Einstein on Art, Science & Schopenhauer

Einstein gets mystical in this speech he gave at Max Planck’s 60th birthday, called The Principles of Research:

I believe with Schopenhauer that one of the strongest motives that leads men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from personal life into the world of objective perception and thought; this desire may be compared with the townsman’s irresistible longing to escape from his noisy, cramped surroundings into the silence of high mountains, where the eye ranges freely through the still, pure air and fondly traces out the restful contours apparently built for eternity.

I was amused to find out that in his bare Berlin study, in the year 1919, his walls were decorated with four photos, one of Schopenhauer and of three British physicists: James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, and Newton. (Link)

Hitler’s Taste in Art

Führer-approved sheep (painting by Ferdinand Schmalzigang)

We all know Hitler was an aspiring painter in his youth before he went on to found the Third Reich (which in itself was a demented artistic creation). Once in power, he planned on establishing a Führermuseum in his hometown of Linz, Austria, where he had assembled 4,731 pieces of art, ranging from painting, to tapestry, to sculpture.

The Führer’s taste ran to bucolic idylls and precious German Romanticism, in particular 19th century painters from Vienna and Munich. He ignored, famously, “degenerate” art by realistic or socially biting artists — among them the mightiest names of the 20th century — but he managed to assemble a large and not insignificant private collection.

That leaves out personal favorites like Otto Dix and George Grosz. I guess, according to Adolf, I have degenerate taste in art.

In the aftermath of the war the works of art were scattered across Europe.

After sifting through 50,000 photos taken by the Allies, and re-establishing details like authorship, the Deutches Historisches Museum now has the entire collection online.

Link to the database at the DHM. Getting into it is a bit tricky. First click on “zur Datenbank” then click on “OK” in the field right under “Volltextsuche über alle Felder”.

(via Der Spiegel)

Ballard Exhibition in Barcelona

If you’re in Barcelona walk on over to the CCCB in the Raval and check out the J.G. Ballard exhibition called Autopsy of the New Millennium (until the November 2). According to the curator:

This exhibition offers an itinerary through Ballard’s creative universe: his times and obsessions, his dissection of the secret keys of the contemporary, the traces of his own life in his fictional body of work, his artistic and literary referents, and his precise, disenchanted intuitions of a future life governed by the concepts of aseptic dystopia and disaster.

I haven’t read many of Ballard’s books, but his short story War Fever is among my all-time favorites. It’s had a huge impact on the way I approach the themes in my writing. I sincerely believe – paraphrasing Joseph Campbell speaking about visionary artists – that he is tapped into the unconscious and can intuit things about the future. I’m curious to see how a retrospective on his work will be handled.

This guy has posted an extensive review of the exhibition.

(via Boingboing)