E MUST emphasize again and again that the anthroposophical world-conception
fosters a consciousness of the common source of art, religion and science.
During ancient periods of evolution these three were not separated;
they existed in unity. The Mysteries which fostered that unity were
a kind of combination art institute, church and school. For what they
offered was not a one-sided sole dependence upon language. The words
uttered by the initiate as both cognition and spiritual revelation
were supported and illustrated by sacred rituals unfolding, before
listening spectators, in mighty pictures.
Thus alongside the
enunciation of earthly knowledge, religious rituals imaged forth what
could be divined and perceived as events and facts of the super-sensible
worlds. Religion and cognition were one. Moreover, the beautiful, the
artistic, had its place within the Mysteries; ritual and image, acting
together, produced a high art. In other terms, the religiously-oriented
rituals which fired man's will and the knowledge-bearing words which
illumined him inwardly had, both, a strong ally in the beautiful, the
artistic. Thus consciousness of the brotherly unity of religion, science
and art must today be ever-present in anthroposophical world-research;
an interlinkage brought about not artificially, but in a self-evident,
intellectualistic-materialistic science tries to grasp the world in
thoughts. As a result, certain ideas give conceptual form to the phenomena
of nature and its creatures. We translate natural laws into thoughts.
During the recent materialistic age it was characteristic of those
preoccupied with cognition that they gradually lost artistic sensibility.
Acceptance of modern science means yielding to dead thoughts and looking
for them in nature. Natural history, that proud achievement of our
science, consists of dead thoughts, corpses of what constituted our
soul before we descended from super-sensible into sensory existence.
looking at the corpse of a human being can see by his form that he could
not have achieved this state through any mere laws of nature as we know
them; he had first to die. A living person became a corpse by dying.
Similarly anyone with real cognition knows that his thoughts are corpses
of that vital soul-being within which he lived before incarnation. Our
earth-thoughts are actually corpses of our pre-earthly soul-life. And
they are abstract precisely because they are corpses. As people during
the last few centuries became more and more enamored of abstractions,
of these thoughts which insinuated themselves into practical life, they
came more and more to resemble them in their higher soul-life. Especially
people with a scientific education. This estranged them from art. The
more one surrenders to purely abstract thoughts, dead thoughts, the
more one becomes a stranger to art. For art desires and is centered
on the living.
seriously occupied with anthroposophical cognition enters the opposite
state. Whereas intellectuality approaches everything from the standpoint
of logic, and tries to explain even the arts according to logical rules,
in anthroposophical thinking there arises at a certain moment a great
longing for art. For this different type of cognition leads to a
realization that thoughts are not the whole living reality; something
else is needed. Since the entire soul life now remains living instead
of being killed by dead thoughts, one comes to need to experience the
world artistically. For if one lives in abstract dead thoughts, art is
only a luxury formed out of man's dreams and illusions; an addition to
life. But — to repeat — the anthroposophical method of
knowledge brings one to a realization that thoughts are not the living
reality; they are dead gestures which merely point to that reality; and
at a certain stage one feels that, to attain reality, one must begin to
create; must pass over to art. Ideas alone simply cannot present the
world in its rich full content. Thus Anthroposophy prepares the soul for
artistic feeling and creating.
thoughts deaden artistic phantasy. Becoming more and more logical, one
takes to writing commentaries on works of art. This is a terrible product
of a materialistic age: scholars write commentaries on art. But these
commentaries, learned descriptions of the art of
are coffins in which genuine artistic feeling, living
art, lie buried. If one picks up a
commentary, it is like touching a corpse. Abstract thoughts have murdered
the work of art.
on the other hand, tries to approach art out of the living spirit —
as I did in speaking of Goethe's
Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.
I did not write a commentary, I let the living
lead me into the living. During an inartistic age there appear many
scholarly treatises on art, works on aesthetics. They are non-art,
counter-art. Savants may reply: To take hold of the world artistically
is to move away from reality; it is not scientific; if reality is to be
seized, phantasy has to be suppressed, imagination eliminated; one must
confine oneself to the logical. This may be demanded. But consider: If
reality, if nature herself were an artist, then it would be of no avail
to demand that everything be grasped solely through logic; something
vital in it would elude logical understanding. And nature is indeed an
artist; a truth discovered by anthroposophical cognition at a certain
point in its development. Therefore, in order to grasp nature, especially
the highest in nature, man's physical form, one must cease to live
exclusively in ideas and begin to “think” in pictures. No
anatomy, no physiology, can ever grasp the physical human being in his
forms. Understanding is achieved only by living cognition that has been
given wings by artistic feeling.
was inevitable that the idea to build a Goetheanum flowed over into
artistic creation. Anthroposophical ideas flowered into artistic forms.
The same ideas manifested in a different manner. This is the way true
art always develops in the world. Goethe who was able to feel artistically
has coined the following beautiful words: “Art a manifestation of
secret laws of nature which, without it, would remain forever
hidden.” He felt what anthroposophists must feel. If one has
attained to a cognitional comprehension of the world, there arises
a vital need not just to continue forming ideas but to create
artistically in sculpture, painting, music, poetry.
an unfortunate thing may happen. If one tries, as I tried in my four
Mystery dramas, to present what cannot be expressed in ideas concerning
the essential nature of man, there spring up sympathetic but not fully
comprehending people who try to explain everything in ideas, who write
commentaries. This — I repeat — is an appalling thing. It
happens because the deadening element of abstract thought is often carried
even into the anthroposophical movement. Actually, within this movement
there should be a continual quickening of abstract thoughts. What can
no longer be experienced intellectually can be enjoyed through living
dramatic characters as they move before and confront us. Beholding them
we let them act upon us as real figures instead of trying to explain
them abstractly. Genuine Anthroposophy leads, inevitably, at a certain
point, into art because, far from thought-killing, it inspires us; permits
the artistic spring in the human soul to gush forth.
is not tempted to form ideas symbolically or allegorically, but to let
all ideas flow to a certain point and to follow the purely artistic
form. Thus the Goetheanum architecture rose completely idea-less (if
I may use that odd expression) as a result of feeling the forms out
of the spirit. It should be seen, not explained. When I had the honor
of conducting guests through the Goetheanum, I usually made introductory
remarks something like this: “You naturally expect me to explain
the building, but this is uncongenial. During the next half hour, while
guiding you, I must do something I very much dislike, for the Goetheanum
is here to be seen, not explained.” This I emphasized over and
over, for the edifice standing there should live as image, not in abstract
deadening thoughts. Explanations being unavoidable, I tried to make
mine not abstract but imbued with the feelings embodied in the building's
own forms, pictures, colors. One can be spiritual in forms, colors,
tones, as well as words. Indeed, only then does one experience the really
artistic. For here in our sense world art is always an influx of the
super-sensible. We can perceive this truth in any work of art which
presents itself in forms having their origin in human nature.
art of architecture which, to a large degree, today serves utilitarian
purposes. To understand architectural forms, one must feel the human
form itself artistically. This is necessarily accompanied by a feeling
that man has foresaken the spiritual worlds to which he rightfully belongs.
A bear in its fur or a dog in its pelt shows itself well cared for by
the universe; one senses a totality. If, on the other hand, one looks
artistically at man, one realizes that, seen merely from the viewpoint
of the senses, he lacks something. He has not received from the universe
what the well-coated bear and dog received. In sense appearance he stands,
as it were, naked to the world. The need is to see, by means of a purely
artistic approach, man's physical body clothed by an imaginative-spiritual
in architecture, this reality does not manifest clearly. But take the
pinnacle reached by architecture when it created protective covers for
the dead. As noted earlier, the monuments erected above graves at the
starting point of architecture had great meaning. Primeval instinctive
clairvoyance perceived that, after forsaking its physical body, its
earthly prison, the naked soul shrinks from being released into cosmic
space without first being enveloped by those forms by which it wants
to be received. People held that the soul must not simply be turned
loose into the chaotically interacting weather currents; they would
tear it apart. The soul desires to expand into the universe through
regular spatial forms. For this reason it must be surrounded by
tomb-architecture. It cannot find its bearings in the storms of weather
and wind which rush toward it; only in the artistic forms of the monument
above the grave. Here paths into the cosmic reaches are formed. An
enveloping sheath such as man, unlike plants and animals, never receives
through sensory-natural elements, is given the soul out of the
can say: Originally architecture expressed the manner in which man wants
to be received by the cosmos, In a house the forms should be similarly
artistic. The planes, the lines: why are they there? Because the soul
wishes to look out into space in those directions, and to be protected
from inrushing light. If one considers the relation of the soul to the
spatial universe, if one recognizes how that universe welcomes the
soul of man, one arrives at the right architectural forms.
has a counterpart. When man leaves his physical body at death, his soul
spreads into spatial forms. Architecture strives to reveal this relation
of man to visible cosmic space. At birth he possesses an unconscious
memory of his own pre-earthly existence. Modern man's consciousness
retains nothing of this. But in unconscious feeling, especially when
naively artistic, the down-plunging soul knows that previously it was
quite different. And now it does not wish to be as it finds itself on
dipping down into the body. It longs to be as it was before.
shows up in primitive people. Because they feel artistically how they
would prefer to live in their body, they first decorate and then clothe
themselves, the colors of their garments displaying how they would —
while in the body — present their souls. Corporeality does not
suffice them, through color they would place themselves in the world
in a way that harmonizes with what they feel themselves as souls. Whoever
views with artistic sense the colorful clothes of primitive people sees
a manifestation of the soul in space; and in like manner, in architectural
forms, the disappearing of the soul into space. Here we have the impulses
at work in two arts: architecture and costuming.
of costuming merges with the other arts. It is not without meaning that
in ages with more artistic feeling than ours, say the Italian Renaissance,
painters gave Mary Magdalene a color of gown different from that of
Mary. Compare the yellow so often used in the robes of Mary Magdalene
with the blue and red in those of Mary, and you see the soul-difference
perceived by a painter living wholly in his medium.
love to dress grey in grey simply show the world the deceased image
of our soul. In our age we not only think abstractly, we dress abstractly.
And (this is said parenthetically) if we do not dress abstractly, then
we show in the way we combine colors how little we retain the living
thinking of the realms through which we passed before descending to
earth. If we do not dress abstractly, we dress without taste. In our
civilization it is precisely the artistic element that needs improvement.
Man must again place himself vitally-artistically into the world: must
perceive the whole cosmic being and life artistically. It will not suffice
to use the well-known apparatus of research institutes for determining
the angle of a face and measuring abstractly racial peculiarities; we
must recognize the form through a sensitive qualitative immersion
in the human being.
a marvelous way we shall recognize in the human head, in its arching
of forehead and crown, a copy — not just as allegory but inward
reality — of the heavenly dome dynamically overarching us. An
image of the universe is shaped by forehead and upper head. Similarly,
an image of our experience in circling the sun, in turning round it
with our planet in a horizontal circling, this participation in cosmic
movement is felt artistically in the formation of nose and eyes. Imagine:
the repose of the fixed stars shows in the tranquil vault of brow and
upper head; planetary circling in the mobile gaze of the eye, and in
what is inwardly experienced through nose and smell. As for the mouth
and chin of man, we have here an image of what leads deeply into his
inner nature. The mouth with the chin represents the whole human being
as he lives with his soul in his body. To repeat, the human head mirrors
the universe artistically. In forehead and the arching crown of the
head we see the still vault of the heavens; in eye, nose and upper lip,
planetary movement; in mouth and chin, a resting within oneself.
If all this
is beheld as living image, it does not remain in the head as abstraction.
If we really feel what I have just described, then a certain sensation
arises and we say to ourselves: you were quite a clever man who had
pretty ideas, but now, suddenly, your head becomes empty; you cannot
think at all; you feel the true significance of forehead, crown, eye,
nose, upper lip, mouth, lower lip, even while thoughts forsake you.
Now the rest of man becomes active. Arms and fingers begin to act as
tools of thinking. But thoughts live in forms. It is thus that a sculptor
comes into being.
If a person
would become a sculptor, his head must cease to think. It is the most
dreadful thing for a sculptor to think with his head. It is nonsense;
impossible. The head must be able to rest, to remain empty; arms and
hands must begin to shape the world in images. Especially if the human
image is to be recreated, the form must stream out of the fingers. Then
one begins to understand why the Greeks with their splendid artistry
formed the upper part of Athene's head by raising a helmet which is
actually part of that head. Her helmet gives expression to the shaping
force of the reposing universe. And one understands how, in the
extraordinary shaping of the nose, in the way the nose joins the
forehead in Greek profiles, in the whole structure, the Greeks expressed
a participation in circling cosmic motion.
is glorious to feel, in the artistic presentation of a Greek head, how
the Greeks became sculptors. It is thus a spiritual sensing and
beholding of the world, rather than cerebral thinking, which leads to
art, and which receives an impulse from Anthroposophy. For the latter
says to itself: There is something in the world which cannot be tackled
by thought; to enter it at all you must start to become an artist. Then
materialistic-intellectualistic scholarship appears like a man who walks
around things externally and describes them logically, but still only
skirts them from outside, whereas the anthroposophical way of thinking
demands that he immerse himself in the not-himself, and recreate, with
living formative force, what the cosmos created first.
one realizes the following: If as anthroposophist you acquire a real
understanding of the physical body which falls away from cosmic space-forms
to become a corpse, if you acquire an understanding of the way the soul
wishes to be received by spatial forms after death, you become an
architect. If you understand the soul's intention of placing itself
into space with the unconscious memories of pre-earthly life, then you
become an artist of costuming: the other pole from the architectural.
a sculptor if one feels one's way livingly into the human form as it
is shaped by and emerges from the cosmos. If one understands the physical
body in all its aspects one becomes, artistically, an architect. If
one really grasps the etheric or formative-force body (as it is called
in Anthroposophy) in its inner vitality, in its living and weaving,
in the way it arches the forehead, models the nose, lets the mouth recede,
one becomes a sculptor. The sculptor does nothing more nor less than
imitate the form of the etheric body.
one looks at soul-life in all its weaving and living, then the manifold
world of color becomes a universe; then one gradually acquaints oneself
with an “astral” experience of the world. What manifests in
color becomes a revelation of the realm of soul.
look at the greenness of plants. We cannot consider this color a subjective
experience, cannot think of vibrations as causing the colors, the way a
physicist does, for if we do so we lose the plant. These are abstractions.
In truth we cannot imagine the plants in a living way without the green.
The plant produces the green out of itself. But how? Embedded in it
are dead earth-substances thoroughly enlivened. In the plant are iron,
carbon, silicic acid, all kinds of earth-substances found, also, in
minerals. But in the plant they are woven through and through with life.
In observing how life works its way through dead particles to create
thereby the plant image, we recognize green as the dead image of life.
Everywhere that we look into green surroundings we perceive, not life
itself, but its image. In other words, we perceive plants through the
fact that they contain dead substances; this is why they are green.
That color is the dead image of life ruling on earth. Green is thus
a kind of cosmic word proclaiming how life weaves and has its being
at man. The color which comes closest to a healthy human flesh color
is that of fresh peach blossoms in spring. No other color in nature
so resembles this skin color, this flush. The inner health of man comes
to expression in this peach-blossom-like color; and in it we can learn
to apprehend the vital health of man when properly endowed by soul.
If the flesh color tends toward green, he is sickly; his soul cannot
find right access to his physical body. On the other hand, if the soul
in egotistical fashion takes hold of the physical body too strongly,
as in the case of a miser, the human being becomes pallid, whitish;
also if the soul experiences fear. Between whitish and greenish tones
lies the healthy vital peach-blossom flesh-tint. And just as we sense
in green the dead image of life, so we can feel in the peach-blossom
color of the healthy human being the living image of the soul.
world of color comes to life. The living, through the dead, creates
the picture green. The soul forms its own image on the human skin in
the peach-blossom-like shade.
look further. The sun appears whitish, and we feel that this whitish
color is closely related to light. If we wake in pitch darkness, we
know that this is not an environment in which we can fully experience
our ego. For that we need light between us and objects; need light between
us and the wall, for instance, to allow the wall to act on us from the
distance. Then our sense of self is kindled. To repeat: if we wake in
light, in what has a relation to white, we feel our ego; if we wake
in darkness, in what is related to black, we feel strange in the world.
Though I say “light,” I could just as well take another sense
impression. You may find a certain contradiction because those born
blind never see light. But the important matter is not whether or not
we see light directly; it is how we are organized. Even if born blind,
man is organized for the light, and the hindrance to ego energy present
in the blind is so through absence of light. White is akin to light.
If we experience light-resembling white in such a way that we feel how
it kindles the ego in space by endowing it with inner strength, then
we may express living, not abstract, thought by saying: White is the
soul-appearance of spirit.
us take black. When our spirit encounters darkness on waking, we feel
paralyzed, deadened. Black is felt as the spiritual image of death.
living in colors. You experience the world as color and light if you
experience green as the dead image of life; peach-blossom color, human
flesh-color, as the living image of the soul; white as the soul-image
of spirit; black as the spiritual image of death. In saying this I describe
a circle. For just note what I said: Green, dead image of the living
— it stops at “living.” Peach-blossom color, flesh-color,
living image of the soul — it stops at “soul.” White,
soul-image of the spirit — having started with soul I rise to
the spirit. Black, spiritual image of death — I start with spirit
and rise to death; but have at the same time returned, since green was
the dead image of life. Returning to what is dead I close the circle.
If I drew it on a blackboard you would see that this living weaving
in color (in the next lecture I shall speak of blue) becomes a real
artistic experience of the astral element in the world.
has this artistic experience, if death, life, soul and spirit show forth,
as it were, in the wheel of life as one passes from the dead back to
the dead through life, soul, spirit; if death, life, soul and spirit
appear through light and color as described, then one realizes that
one cannot remain in three-dimensional space, one must adopt the plane
surface; solve the riddle of space on the plane; lose the space
as sculptors, we abandoned head thinking, so now we lose the concept
of space. When everything wants to change into light and color we become
painters. The very source of painting opens up. With great inner joy
we lay one color alongside another. Colors become revelations of life,
death, soul, spirit. By overcoming dead thought we attain to the point
where we no longer feel impelled to speak in words, no longer to think
in ideas, no longer to mould in forms, but use color and light to
represent life and death, spirit and soul, as they have their being
in the universe.
way Anthroposophy stimulates creation; instead of weaning us away from
life as does abstract, idealistic-empirical cognition, it gives us back
far we have remained outside man, considering his surface: his healthy
peach-blossom tones, his pale-whitish color when his spirit plunges
too deeply into the physical body, and his greenish shade when, because
of sickness, his soul cannot fill that body. We have remained on the
now enter man's inner nature, we find something set against the external
world-configuration: a marvelous harmony between the breath rhythm and
blood rhythm. The rhythm of breathing — a normal human being breathes
eighteen times per minute — is transferred to man's nerves, becomes
motion. Physiology knows very little about this process. The rhythm
of breathing is contained, in a delicate psycho-spiritual manner, in
the nerve system.
the blood rhythm, it originates in the metabolic system. In a normal
adult, four pulse beats correspond to one breath rhythm; seventy-two
pulse beats per minute. What lives in the blood, that is, the ego, the
sunlike nature in man, plays upon the breathing system and, through
it, upon the nervous system. If one looks into the human eye, one finds
there some extremely fine ramifications of blood vessels. Here the blood
pulsation meets the currents of the visual nerve spread through the
eye. A marvelously artistic process takes place when the blood circulation
plays upon a visual nerve that moves four times more slowly.
at the spinal cord, its nerves extending in all directions, observe
the blood vessels, and become aware of an inward playing of the whole
sun-implanted blood system upon the earth-given nervous system. The
Greeks with their artistic natures were aware of this interrelation.
They saw the sun-like in man, the playing of the blood system upon the
nervous system, as the God Apollo; and the spinal cord with its wonderful
ramification of strings, upon which the sun principle plays, as Apollo's
we meet architecture, sculpture, the art of costuming and painting when
we approach man from the external world, so we meet music, rhythm, beat,
when we approach the inner man and trace the marvelous artistic forming
and stirring which take place between blood and nerve system.
external music, that performed between blood and nerve system in the
human organism is of far greater sublimity. And when it is metamorphosed
into poetry, one can feel how, in the word, this inward music is again
released outward. Take the Greek hexameter with its initial three long
syllables followed by a caesura, and how the blood places the four syllable
lengths into the breath. To scan the first half of an hexameter line
properly is to indicate how our blood meets, impinges on, the nervous
to declamation and recitation, we must try to solve the riddle of the
divine artist in man. I shall consider this more explicitly in the next
lecture. But, having studied man's nature from without through
architecture, sculpture and painting, we now penetrate into his
inner nature and arrive at the arts of music and poetry; a living
comprehension of world and man passes over into artistic feeling and
the stimulus to artistic creation.
this point man feels that here on earth he does not fulfil what lies
in his archetype, with its abode in the heavens, then there arises in
him an artistic longing for some outer image of that archetype. Whereupon
he can gain the power to become an instrument for bringing to expression
the true relation of man to the world by becoming a eurythmist. The
eurythmist says: All the movements which I ordinarily carry out here
on earth do less then justice to the mobile archetype of man. To present
the ideal human archetype I must begin by finding a way to insert myself
into its motions. These motions, through which man endeavors to imitate
in space the movements of his heavenly archetype, constitute eurythmy.
Therefore it is not just mimicry, nor mere dancing, but stands midway
between. Mimic art is chiefly a support for the spoken word. If the
need is to express something for which words do not suffice, man
supplements word with gesture; thus arises mimic art. It expresses
the insufficiency of the words standing alone. Mimic art is indicative
of dancing arises when language is forgotten altogether, when the will
manifests so strongly it forces the soul to surrender and follow the
movement-suggesting body. The art of the dance is sweeping ecstatic
say: mimic art is indicative gesture; art of dance, sweeping ecstatic
gesture. Between the two stands the visible speech of eurythmy which
is neither indicative nor sweeping but expressive gesture,
just as the word itself is expressive gesture. For a word is really
a gesture in air. When we form a word, our mouth presses the air into
a certain invisible gesture, imbued with thought, which, by causing
vibrations, bejcomes audible. Whoever is able with sensory-supersensory
vision to observe what is formed by the speaking mouth sees, in air,
the invisible gestures being made there as words. If one imitates these
gestures with the whole body, one has eurythmy, an expressive visible
gesture. Eurythmy is the transformation of an air gesture into a visible
expressive gesture of the limbs.
touch on all this in my coming lecture on Anthroposophy and poetry.
Today I wished chiefly to indicate how anthroposophical, in contrast
to intellectualistic-materialistic, knowledge does not kill with its
thoughts; does not turn a person into a commentator on art who thereby
buries it, but, rather, causes an artistic spring, a fountain of phantasy,
to well up. Turns him into an enjoyer or creator of art; verifies what
must be emphasized over and over again, namely, that art, religion and
science are sisters who once upon a time became estranged, but who must
again enter into a sisterly relationship if man is to function as a
complete human being. Thus scholars will cease haughtily to acknowledge
a work of art only if they can write a commentary on it and otherwise
reject it, but will say: What I interpret as thought engenders a need
to fashion it artistically by means of architecture, sculpture, painting,
saying that art is a kind of knowledge is true, because all other forms
of knowledge, taken together, do not constitute a complete world knowledge.
Art — creativity — must be added to what is known abstractly
if we are to attain to world knowledge. This union of art and science
will produce a religious mood. Because our Dornach building strove for
this balance, friends of nationalities other than German petitioned
to call it the “Goetheanum,” for it was Goethe who said:
Who possesses science and art
Possesses religion as well;
Who possesses the first two not,
O grant him religion.
true art and true science flow together livingly, the result is a religious
life. Conversely religion, far from denying science or art, must strive
toward both with all possible energy and vitality.