Sunday, December 18, 2011

Durer's rhinoceros

I've been looking at Durer's drawing of a rhinoceros for decades and I was always aware that he never saw a rhinoceros, meaning that his drawing was done through descriptions and a quick sketch by another artist. I always thought he exaggerated the facts but when I visited the Berlin Zoo recently there was this Indian rhinoceros which looked like Durer's drawing. There are a few minor mistakes in regard to the anatomy but I never knew there were rhinos that looked like the one in Berlin, so hats off to Durer.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kathe Kollwitz Museum Berlin

The Kathe Kollwitz Museum in Berlin is a must see. She was a printmaker, draughtswoman and sculptor and the pain which surrounded her and touched her personally was often the subject matter of her art. Her husband was a doctor so she was acquainted with the harsh conditions of the working classes. She experienced the social devastation of two world wars, lost her son in the 1st World War and a grandson in the 2nd World War. One of the greatest artists of any era, she was as good as Rembrandt in her sense of form and the power of her psychological expression. She produced over fifty amazing self portraits but words aren't enough. See her work at the Kathe Kollwitz Museum website

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bode Museum

The Bode Museum in Berlin focuses on sculpture. Sculptures were often coloured but when we see them in museums they are generally white. Time gradually erodes the pigments  and leaves us with a ghost image of its former self. The Bode Museum has stunning examples of how sculptures were generally viewed at the time they were made. The bottom example by Pedro Roldan is amazing especially in the way he creates tears running down the face.  Its title is Maria die Schmerzensreiche (Our Lady of Sorrows) 1670-76. The carving of all of these works is very crisp, a quality that only strong concentration can give a work of art.