WEEK TWO: 15 - 19 July 2013

Course 16: Dr Matthias Vollmer

The Shadows of the Past: Art in Germany from 1945 to Today

£455

NEW COURSE

Denouncing avant-garde art movements like Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, New Objectivity and the Bauhaus as ‘degenerate’, the Nazi regime promoted a ‘true German art’ mostly in the tradition of German nineteenth-century realistic painting. After World War II, West German abstract artists such as Willi Baumeister, Ernst Wilhelm Nay and ‘Wols’ sought to come to terms with the traumatic legacy of the country's recent history. Simultaneously, East German artists like Bernhard Heisig and Werner Tübke presented idiosyncratic interpretations of official ‘Socialist Realism’. In both Germanys artists developed distinctive versions of modern and postmodern art - at times in accord with their political cultures, at other times in opposition to them.

Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer were the first to gain an international reputation. Joerg Immendorf and Georg Baselitz brought about a revival of figurative painting and, after his escape to West Germany, Dresden-born Gerhard Richter together with Sigmar Polke introduced the notion of ‘Capitalist Realism’.  We shall also explore the ‘neutral’ views of industrial architectural forms by Bernd and Hilla Becher and the art of Neo Rauch, ‘the painter who came (in) from the cold’. These complex developments will be examined in the context of relevant political and cultural discourses in post-war Germany.



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WEEK THREE: 22 - 26 July 2013

Course 23:  Dr Christian Weikop

German Romanticism to Expressionism: From the Nazarenes to the Brücke

£455

This course examines the artistic quest for the origins of Germanic identity, and the romantic-idealist roots of early Expressionism.  Goethe’s essay ‘On German Architecture’ (1772) is our starting point, and we will discuss how his interest in the idea of a Gothic German identity reverberated in the art of the long nineteenth century, from the Nazarenes to the Brücke group. We will consider the ideals of the German Romantic movement, from early organic theories of art to an ‘aesthetics of inwardness’, which might be what unites the work of artists as diverse as Philip Otto Runge and Franz Marc. The course will cover a wide range of subject matter: from the forest cult in works by artists like Caspar David Friedrich and Ludwig Richter, to the anti-urban ‘back-to-nature’ tradition as seen in the art of Wilhelm Leibl and Paula Modersohn-Becker, and the expressions of a ‘free body culture’ in the Symbolist canvases of artists like Hugo Höppener. We will also investigate the Romantic cult of Albrecht Dürer as ‘the’ German master par excellence, and his influence on both nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German artists. This course includes visits to the print rooms of the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.