I’ve been distracted from posting here for some time because I spent much of my blogger time on another site which has become misdirected due to a gross naturalistic prejudice which confuses Eros and sex. I made comments to redirect the site to a genuine interest in art but the authors were caught up in the consumption of work which reflects the alienated values of mass culture. The authors of the site seemed to resign themselves to an amusement park reality principle, they tended to trivialize the concept of innocence in nude figurative art without accounting for the forms of innocence, they presumed art was a contrivance to look at pretty girls without an understanding of its emotional and symbolic depth. A common view today which disgraces art.
When I created this site, I had intended to present the work in chronological order, to give a history but I became interested in ideas associated with the work of different artists and presented work at random. At this point the posts will give a history of the development of the counter art tendency which could be called Jugend.
Philipp Otto Runge (1777 -1810) was a Romantic German artist, his work has been compared to the visionary spiritual images of the elder English artist and poet William Blake (1757-1827). Runge had great devotion, he could have easily become a Lutheran pastor, he died at 33, leaving the fragments of an artist of great vision. Runge was influenced by the philosophy of his contemporaries to a great extent, he was in close contact with the poet Goethe. The thought of Spinoza which influenced Runge through Goethe was in a sense a response to the effects of the Protestant Reformation. The intention of the Reformation was to reserve devotion to God alone, but the loss of intimacy through culture which reflects nature led to a rational explanation of nature which in turn led to a skepticism in God. Although Spinoza took mysticism too far, to pantheism, claiming the physical world is God’s body, his thought was a counter to the development of rationalism with rejects God.
Runge intended to complete four large paintings, the Four Times but only finished the first of the paintings, The Great Morning before he died. The Great Morning was cut up by one Runge’s descendants but was later reassembled. Runge seemed to revive a sense of wonder for nature which is often lost with an over developed rational conscience, many of his paintings feature an infant gazing up to the sky, the infant is an allusion to the Christ Child. Venus arises gracefully from the horizon as delightful children dance through a luminous sky, at first glance the children appear to be cherubs but they are earthly children since they have no wings, however unlike Blake, Runge did believe in angels. Breaking with classical conventions, some of the children are depicted as girls. The composition has the symmetry and formality of traditional religious art. The painting is like an altarpiece to the Joy C.S. Lewis later described.
Runge contributed to the development of color theory, he designed the first color solid, a three-dimensional spherical color model ordering all the tints, shades, and hues of colors, he used color in his painting to symbolize religious belief. He also expressed himself with words as well as art, he wrote;
The feeling of the whole universe with us; this united chord which in its vibrations touches every string of our heart; the love which keeps us and carries us though life… each leaf and each blade of grass teems with life and stirs beneath me, all resounds together in a single chord… I hear and feel the living breath of God who holds and carries the world, in whom all lives and works; here is the highest that we divine —God!