Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Der Blaue Reiter, Das Blaue Pferd
I apologize, my readers, I am a week behind! The first year of my Master's program ended last week, and I am pleased to say it ended very well. :) It was stressful for a spell, but I have succeeded! In light of my good mood, I thought I'd share some paintings with you that always make me happy to look at...perhaps its the colors, perhaps the animals. But I think they're really delightful. :)
Franz Marc - German Expressionist painter, 1880-1916Franz Marc was born in Munich on February 8th, 1880, son of a professional landscape painter. His formal training as an artist began at age 20 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, continuing informally in Paris from 1903-1907. In 1911, he founded Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) journal, which developed into an artist's circle with Wassily Kandinsky and August Macke, among other German artists. He organized exhibitions under the Blaue Reiter name in 1911 and 1912. He was heavily intrigued by Vincent Van Gogh and those of the Impressionist movement in France.
At the beginning of World War I, Marc volunteered for military service in the German Army. Shortly after the war began, the government issued orders to pull select, notable artists from combat in order to protect them. Before Marc could be withdrawn from combat, he was struck in the head by a piece of shell at the Battle of Verdun on March 4, 1916 and instantly killed.
Tragic as his end was, it is what he accomplished in life that we want to remember! Der Blaue Reiter group believed that art should suggest spiritual themes. Marc chose to depict animals because he believed them to be more noble and natural than humans. He gave emotional meaning to what he painted, particularly with the colors.
"Blue is the male principle, stern and spiritual. Yellow the female principle, gentle, cheerful and sensual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color which must be fought and vanquished by the other two."
The animals he painted were done in these exuberant, unusual colors in order to try and harness their spirituality.
In this painting, Rehe im Walde II (Deer in Woods II, 1914), Marc represents a family of deer crouched in the woods. The blue deer is the buck, the masculine leader of this little group. The fawn is in yellow, symbolizing the joy of a child. The doe, in red, has changed its symbolism here to mean femininity and motherhood. As Marc previously believed that red symbolized "matter" and earth, it's easy to see how he could make the leap to encompass motherhood.
"Art is nothing but the expression of our dream; the more we surrender to it, the closer we get to the inner truth of things, our dream-life, the true life that scorns questions and does not see them."
But most of all, Marc loved horses. Blue horses. He elevated them in his paintings to represent what he admired most about the animal kingdom. They were noble, masculine, and elegant. Like his other animal forms, they were simplified and composed of bold, round shapes. Their curved necks and bodies mimic the curves of the landscape and painting them blue conveyed their spirituality.
"What appears spectral today will be natural tomorrow." - Franz Marc