AY before yesterday I tried to show that the anthroposophical
knowledge which accompanies an inner life of the soul does not estrange
one from artistic awareness and creation. On the contrary, whoever takes
hold of Anthroposophy with full vitality opens up within himself
the very source of such activity. And I indicated how the meaning of
any art is best read through its own particular medium.
discussing architecture, the art of costuming, and sculpture,
I went on to explain the experience of color in painting, and took pains
to show that color is not merely something which covers the surface
of things and beings, but radiates out from them, revealing their inner
instance, I pointed out that green is the image of life, revealing
the life of the plant world. Though it has its origin in the plant's
dead mineral components, it is yet the means whereby the living shows
forth in a dead image. It is fascinating that life can thus reveal
itself. In that connection, consider how the living human figure appears
in the dead image of sculpture; how life can be expressed through dead,
rigid forms. In green we have a similar case in that it appears
as the dead image of life without laying claim to life itself.
repeat still other details from the last lecture in order to show how
the course of the world moves on, then returns into itself; and shall
do this by presenting the colors which make up its various elements:
life, soul, spirit. I said I would draw this complete circle of the
cosmic in the world of color. As I told you before, green appears as
the dead image of life; in green life lies, as it were, concealed.
Click image for large view
we take the flesh color of Caucasian man, which resembles spring's
fresh peach-blossom color, we have the living image of the soul. If
we contemplate white in an artistic way, we have the soul image of the
spirit. (The spirit as such conceals itself.) And if, as artists, we
take hold of black, we have the spiritual image of death. And the circle
apprehended green, flesh color, white and black in their aesthetic
manifestation; they represent the self-contained life of the cosmos
within the world of color. If, artistically, we focus attention upon
this closed circle of colors, our feeling will tell us of the need to
use each of them as a self-contained image.
in dealing with the arts I must concern myself not with abstract intellect,
but aesthetic feeling. The arts must be recognized artistically. For
that reason I cannot furnish conceptual proof that green, peach-blossom,
white and black should be treated as self-contained images. But it is
as if each wants to have a contour within which to express itself. Thus
they have, in a sense, shadow natures. White, as dimmed light, is the
gentlest shadow; black the heaviest. Green and peach-blossom are images
in the sense of saturated surfaces; which makes them, also, shadowlike.
Thus these four colors are image or shadow colors, and we must try to
experience them as such.
is quite different with red, yellow and blue. Considering these colors
with unbiased artistic feeling, we feel no urge to see them with well-defined
contours on the plane, only to let them radiate. Red shines toward us,
the dimness of blue has a tranquil effect, the brilliance of yellow
sparkles outward. Thus we may call flesh color, green, black and white
the image or shadow colors, whereas blue, yellow and red are radiance
or lustre colors. To put it another way: In the radiance, lustre and
activity of red we behold the element of the vital, the living; we may
call it the lustre of life. If the spirit does not wish merely to reveal
itself in abstract uniformity as white, but to speak to us with such
inward intensity that our soul can receive it, then it sparkles in yellow;
yellow is the radiance or lustre of the spirit. If the soul wishes
to experience itself inwardly and deeply, withdrawing from external
phenomena and resting within itself, this may be expressed artistically
in the mild shining of blue, the lustre of the soul. To repeat: red
is the lustre of life, blue the lustre of the soul, yellow the lustre
of the spirit.
form a world in themselves and we understand them with our feelings
if we experience the lustre colors red, yellow, blue, as bestowing a
gleam of revelation upon the image colors, peach-blossom, green, black
and white. Indeed, we become painters through a soul experience of the
world of color, through learning to live with the colors, feeling what
each individual color tries to convey. When we paint with blue we feel
satisfied only if we paint it darker at the edge and lighter toward
the center. If we let yellow speak its own language, we make it strong
in the center and gradually fading and lightening toward the periphery.
By demanding this treatment, each reveals its character. Thus forms
arise out of the colors themselves; and it is out of their world that
we learn to paint sensitively.
wish to represent a spiritually radiant figure, we cannot do otherwise
than paint it a yellow which decreases in strength toward its edge.
If we wish to depict the feeling soul, we can express this reality with
a blue garment — a blue which becomes gradually lighter toward
its center. From this point of view one can appreciate the painters
of the Renaissance,
for they still
had this color experience.
paintings of earlier periods one finds the inner or color-perspective
of which the Renaissance still had an echo. Whoever feels the radiance
of red sees how it leaps forward, how it brings its reality close, whereas
blue retreats into the distance. When we employ red and blue we paint
in color-perspective; red brings subjects near, blue makes them retreat.
Such color-perspective lives in the realm of soul and spirit.
the age of materialism there arose spatial perspective, which takes
into account sizes in space. Now distant things were painted not blue
but small; close things not red but large. This perspective belongs
to the materialistic age which, living in space and matter, prefers
to paint in those elements.
we live in an age when we must find our way back to the true nature
of painting. The plane surface is a vital part of the painter's media.
Above everything else, an artist, any artist, must develop a feeling
for his media. It must he so strong that — for instance —
a sculptor working in wood knows that human eyes must be dug out of
it; he focuses on what is concave; hollows out the wood. On the other
hand, a sculptor working in marble or some other hard substance does
not hollow out; he focuses his attention on, say, the brow jutting forward
above the eye; takes into consideration what is convex. Already in his
preparatory work in plasticine or clay he immerses himself in his material.
The sculptor in marble lays on; the woodcarver takes away, hollows out.
They must live with their material; must listen and understand its vital
is true of color. The painter feels the plane surface only if the third
spatial dimension has been extinguished; and it is extinguished if he
feels the qualitative character of color as contributing another kind
of third dimension, blue retreating, red approaching. Then matter is
abolished instead of — as in spatial perspective — imitated.
Certainly I do not speak against the latter. In the age which started
with the fifteenth century it was natural and self-evident, and added
an important element to the ancient art of painting. But today it is
essential to realize that, having passed through materialism, it is
time for painting to return to a more spiritual conception, to return
any art we must not theorize but (I repeat) abide, feelingly, within
its own particular medium. In speaking about mathematics, mechanics,
physics, we must kill our feeling and use only intellect. In art, however,
real perception does not come by way of intellect, art historians of
the nineteenth century notwithstanding. Once a Munich artist told me
how he and his friends, in their youth, went to a lecture of a famous
art historian to find out whether or not they could learn something
from him. They did not go a second time, but coined an ironical derogatory
phrase for all his theorizing. What can be expressed through the vital
weaving of colors can also be expressed through the living weaving of
tones. But the world of tones has to do with man's inner life (whereas
the sculptor in three-dimensional space and the painter on a
two-dimensional plane express what manifests etherically in space).
With the musical element we enter man's inner world, and it is extremely
important to focus attention upon its meaning within the evolution of
of my listeners who have frequently attended my lectures or are
acquainted with anthroposophical literature know that we can go back
in the evolution of mankind to what we call the Atlantean epoch when
the human race, here on earth, was very different from today, being
endowed with an instinctive clairvoyance which made it possible to behold,
in waking dreams, the spiritual behind the physical. Parallel to this
clairvoyance man had a special experience of music. In those ancient
days music gave him a feeling of being lifted out of the body. Though
it may seem paradoxical, the people of those primeval ages particularly
enjoyed the chords of the seventh. They played music and sang in the
interval of the seventh which is not today considered highly musical.
It transported them from the human into the divine world.
the transition from the experience of the seventh to that of the
pentatonic scales, this sense of the divine gradually diminished.
Even so, in perceiving and emphasizing the fifth, a feeling of liberating
the divine from the physical lingered on. But whereas with the seventh
man felt himself completely removed into the spiritual world, with the
fifth he reached up to the very limits of his physical body; felt his
spiritual nature at the boundary of his skin, so to speak, a sensation
foreign to modern ordinary consciousness.
The age which
followed the one just described — you know this from the history
of music — was that of the third, the major and minor third. Whereas
formerly music had been experienced outside man in a kind of ecstasy,
now it was brought completely within him. The major and minor third,
and with them the major and minor scales, took music right into man.
As the age of the fifth passed over into that of the third man began
to experience music inwardly, within his bounding skin.
a parallel transition: on the one hand, in painting the spatial perspective
which penetrates into space; on the other, in music, the scales of the
third which penetrate into man's etheric-physical body; which is to
say, in both directions a tendency toward naturalistic conception. In
spatial perspective we have external naturalism, in the musical experience
of the third “internal” naturalism.
To grasp the essential
nature of things is to understand man's position in the cosmos. The
future development of music will be toward spiritualization, and involve
a recognition of the special character of the individual tone. Today
we relate the individual tone to harmony or melody in order that, together
with other tones, it may reveal the mystery of music. In the future
we will no longer recognize the individual tone solely in relation to
other tones, which is to say according to its planal dimension, but
apprehend it in depth; penetrate into it and discover therein its affinity
for hidden neighboring tones. And we will learn to feel the following:
If we immerse ourselves in the tone it reveals three, five or more tones;
the single tone expands into a melody and harmony leading straight into
the world of spirit. Some modern musicians have made beginnings in
this experience of the individual tone in its dimension of depth; in
modern musicianship there is a longing for comprehension of the tone
in its spiritual profundity, and a wish — in this as in the other
arts — to pass from the naturalistic to the spiritual element.
special relationship to the world as expressed through the arts becomes
clear if we advance from those of the outer world, that is architecture,
art of costuming, sculpture and painting, to those of the inner world,
that is to music and poetry. I deeply regret the impossibility of carrying
out my original intention of having Frau Dr. Steiner illustrate, with
declamation and recitation, my discussion of the poetic art. Unfortunately
she has not yet recovered from a severe cold. During this Norwegian
lecture course my own cold forces me to a rather inartistic croaking,
and we did not want to add Frau Dr. Steiner's.
Rising to poetry,
we feel ourselves confronted by a great enigma. Poetry originates in
phantasy, a thing usually taken as synonymous with the unreal, the
non-existent, with which men fool themselves. But what power expresses
itself through phantasy?
that power, let us look at childhood. The age of childhood does not
yet show the characteristics of phantasy. At best it has dreams. Free
creative phantasy does not yet live and manifest in the child. It is
not, however, something which, at a certain age in manhood, suddenly
appears out of nothingness. Phantasy lies hidden in the child; he is
actually full of it. What does it do in him? Whoever can observe the
development of man with the unbiased eye of the spirit sees how at a
tender age the brain, and indeed the whole of his organism, is still,
as compared with man's later shape, quite unformed. In the shaping of
his own organism the child is inwardly the most significant sculptor.
No mature sculptor is able to create such marvelous cosmic forms as
does the child when, between birth and the change of teeth, it plastically
elaborates his organism. The child is a superb sculptor whose plastic
power works as an inner formative force of growth. The child is also
a musical artist, for he tunes his nerve strands in a distinctly musical
fashion. To repeat: power of phantasy is power to grow and harmonize
child has reached the time of the change of teeth, around his seventh
year, then advances to puberty, he no longer needs such a great amount
of plastic-musical power of growth and formation as, once, for the care
of the body. Something remains over. The soul is able to withdraw a
certain energy for other purposes, and this is the power of phantasy:
the natural power of growth metamorphosed into a soul force. If you
wish to understand phantasy, study the living force in plant forms,
and in the marvelous inner configuratons of the organism as created
by the ego; study everything creative in the wide universe, everything
molding and fashioning and growing in the subsconscious regions of the
cosmos; then you will have a conception of what remains over when man
has advanced to a point in the elaborating of his own organism when
he no longer needs the full quota of his power of growth and formative
force. Part of it now rises up into the soul to become the power of
phantasy. The final left-over (I cannot call it sediment, because sediment
lies below while this rises upward) — the ultimate left-over is
power of intellect. Intellect is the finely sifted-out power of phantasy,
the last upward-rising remainder.
ignore this fact. They see intellect as of greater reality. But phantasy
is the first child of the natural formative and growth forces; and because
it cannot emerge as long as there is active growing, does not express
direct reality. Only when reality has been taken care of does phantasy
make its appearance in the soul. In quality and essential nature it
is the same as the power of growth. In other words, what promotes growth
of an arm in childhood is the same force which works in us later, in
soul transformation, as poetic, artistic phantasy. This fact cannot
be grasped theoretically; we must grasp it with feeling and will. Only
then will we be able to experience the appropriate reverence for phantasy,
and under certain circumstances the appropriate humor; in brief, to
feel phantasy as a divine, active power in the world.
to expression through man, it was a primary experience for
those human beings of ancient times of whom I spoke in the last lecture,
when art and knowledge were a unity, when knowledge was acquired through
artistic rites rather than the abstractions of laboratory and clinic;
when physicians gained their knowledge of man not from the dissecting
room but from the Mysteries where the secrets of health and disease,
the secrets of the nature of man, were divulged in high ceremonies.
sensed that the god who lives and weaves in the plastic and musical
formative forces of the growing child continues to live in phantasy. At
that time, when people felt the deep inner relationship between religion,
art and science, they realized that they had to find their way to the
divine, and take it into themselves for poetic creation; otherwise
phantasy would be desecrated.
poetic drama never presented common man, for the reason that mankind's
ancient dramatic phantasy would have considered it absurd to let ordinary
human beings converse and carry out all kinds of gestures on the stage.
Such a fact may sound paradoxical today, but the anthroposophical
researcher — knowing all the objections of his opponents —
must nevertheless state the truth. The Greeks prior to Sophocles and
Aeschylus would have asked: Why present something on the stage which
exists, anyhow, in life? We need only to walk on the street or enter
a room to see human beings conversing and gesturing. This we see
everywhere. Why present it on a stage? To do so would have seemed
were to represent the god in man, and above all the god who, rising
out of terrestrial depths, gave man his will power. With a certain
justification our predecessors, the ancient Greeks, experienced this
will-endowment as rising up out of the earth. The gods of the depths
who, entering man, endow him with will, these Dionysiac gods were to
be given stage presentation. Man was, so to speak, the vessel of the
Dionysiac godhead. Actors in the Mysteries were human beings who
received into themselves a god. It was he who filled them with
other hand, man who rose to the goddess of the heights (male gods were
recognized as below, female gods in the heights), man who rose in order
that the divine could sink into him became an epic poet who wished not
to speak himself but to let the godhead speak through him. He offered
himself as bearer to the goddess of the heights that she, through him,
might look upon earth events, upon the deeds of Achilles, Agamemnon,
Odysseus and Ajax. Ancient epic poets did not care to express the opinions
of such heroes; opinions to be heard every day in the market place.
It was what the goddess had to say about the earthly-human element when
people surrendered to her influence that was worth expression in epic
poetry. “Sing, oh goddess, the wrath of Achilles, son of
Peleus”: thus did Homer begin the
goddess, of that ingenious hero,” begins the
This is no phrase; it is a deeply inward confusion of a true epic poet who
lets the goddess speak through him instead of speaking himself, who
receives the divine into his phantasy, that child of the cosmic forces
of growth, so that the divine may speak about world events.
the times had become more and more materialistic, Klopstock, who still
had real artistic feeling, wrote his
man no longer looked up to the gods, he did not dare to say: Sing, oh
goddess, the redemption of sinful man as fulfilled here on earth by
the Messiah. He no longer dared to do this in the eighteenth century,
but cried instead: “Sing, oh immortal soul, of sinful man's
redemption.” In other words, he still possessed something which
was lifted above the human level. His words reveal a certain bashfulness
about what was fully valid in ancient times: “Sing, oh goddess,
the wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus.”
dramatist felt as if the god of the depths had risen, and that he himself
was to be that god's vessel; the epic poet as if the Muse, the goddess,
had descended into him in order to judge earthly conditions. The ancient
Greek actor avoided presentation of the individual human element. That
is why he wore high thick-soled shoes, cothurni, and used a
simple musical instrument through which his voice resounded. He desired
to lift the dramatic action above the individual-personal.
not speak against naturalism. For a certain age it was right and
inevitable. For when Shakespeare conceived his dramatic characters in
their supreme perfection, man had arrived at presenting, humanly, the
human element. Quite a different urge and artistic feeling held sway
at that period. But the time has come when, in poetic art also, we must
find our way back to the spiritual, to presenting dramatic figures in
whom man himself, as a spiritual as well as bodily being, can move within
the all-permeating spiritual events of the world.
made a first weak attempt in my Mystery dramas. There human beings converse
not as people do in the market place or on the street, but as they
do when higher spiritual impulses play between them, and their instincts,
desires and passion are crossed by paths of destiny, of karma, active
through millennia in repeated lives.
imperative to turn to the spiritual in all spheres. We must make good
use of what naturalism has brought us; must not lose what we have acquired
by having for centuries now held up, as an ideal of art, the imitation
of nature. Those who deride materialism are bad artists, bad scientists.
Materialism had to happen. We must not look down mockingly on earthly
man and the material world. We must have the will to penetrate into
this material world spiritually; nor despise the gifts of scientific
materialism and naturalistic art; must — though not by developing
dry symbolism or allegory — find our way back to the spiritual.
Symbolism and allegory are inartistic. The starting point for a new
life of art can come only by direct stimulation from the source whence
spring all anthroposophical ideas. We must become artists, not symbolists
or allegorists, by rising, through spiritual knowledge, more and more
into the spiritual world.
be attained quite specially if, in the art of recitation and declamation,
we transcend naturalism. In this connection we should remember how genuine
artists like Schiller and Goethe formed their poems. In Schiller's soul
there lived an indefinite melody, and in Goethe's an indefinite picture,
a form, before ever they put down the words of their poems. Often, today,
the chief emphasis in recitation and declamation is placed on prose
content. But that is only a makeshift. The prose content of a poem,
what lies in the words as such, is of little importance; what is important
is the way the poet shapes and forms it. Ninety-nine percent of those
who write verse are not artists. In a poem everything depends on the
way the poet uses the musical element, rhythm, melody, the theme, the
imaginative element, the evocation of sounds. Single words give the
prose content. The crux is how we treat that prose content; whether,
for instance, we choose a fast or slow rhythm. We express joyful anticipation
by a fast rhythm. If we say: The hero was full of joyful anticipation,
we have prose even if it occurs in a poem. It is essential, in such
an instance, to choose a rapidly moving rhythm. When I say: The woman
was deeply sad, I have prose, even in a poem. But when I choose a rhythm
which flows in soft slow waves, I express sorrow. To repeat, everything
depends on form, on rhythm. When I say, The hero struck a heavy blow,
it is prose. But if the poet speaks in fuller, not ordinary tones, if
he offers a fuller u-tone, a fuller o-tone, instead of a's and e's,
he expresses his intention in the very formation of speech.
and recitation one has to learn to shape language, to foster the elements
of melody, rhythm, beat, not prose content. One has also to gauge the
effect of a dull sound upon a preceding light sound, and a light sound
upon the following dark one, thus expressing a soul experience in the
treatment of the speech sounds. Words are the medium of recitation and
declamation: a little-understood art which we have striven to develop.
Frau Dr. Steiner has given years to it. When we return to artistic feeling
on a higher level we return to speech formation as contrasted with the
modern emphasis on prose content. Nothing derogatory shall be said against
prose content. Having achieved it through the naturalism which made
us human, we must keep it. At the same time we must again become imbued
with soul and spirit. Word-content can never express soul and spirit.
The poet is justified in saying: “If the soul speaks,
alas, it is no longer the soul that speaks.” For prose is not the
soul's language. It expresses itself in beat, rhythm, melodious theme,
image, and the formation of speech sounds. The soul is present as long
as the poem expresses rising and falling inner movements.
a distinction between declamation and recitation: two separate arts.
Declamation has its home in the north; and is effective primarily through
the weight of its syllables: chief stress, secondary stress. In contrast,
the reciting artist has always lived in the south. In recitation man
takes into account not the weight but the measure of the syllables:
long syllable, short syllable. Greek reciters, presenting their texts
concisely, experienced the hexameter and pentameter as mirrors of the
relationship between breathing and blood circulation. There are
approximately eighteen breaths and seventy-two pulse-beats per minute.
Breath and pulse-beat chime together. The hexameter has three long
syllables, the fourth is the caesura. One breath measures four pulse
beats. This one-to-four relation appearing in the measure and scanning
of the hexameter brings to expression the innermost nature of man, the
secret of the relation of breath and blood circulation.
This reality cannot
be perceived with our intellect; it is an instinctive, intuitive-artistic
experience. And beautifully illustrated by the two versions of Goethe's
when spoken one after the other. We have done that
often and would have done so today if Frau Dr. Steiner were not indisposed.
Before he went to Italy, Goethe wrote his
artist (to use Schiller's later word for him), in a form which can be
presented only through the art of declamation, chief stress, secondary
stress, when the life of the blood preponderates. In Italy he rewrote
this work. It is not always noticed, but a fine artistic feeling can
clearly distinguish the German from the Roman
Goethe introduced the recitative element into his Northern declamatory
this Italian, this Roman
asks for an altered
reading. If one reads both versions, one after the other, the marvelous
difference between declamation and recitation becomes strikingly clear.
Recitation was at home in Greece where breath measured the faster blood
circulation. Declamation was at home in the North where man lived in
his inmost nature. Blood is a quite special fluid because it contains
the inmost human element. In it lives the human character. That is why
the Northern poetic artist became a declamatory artist.
as Goethe knew only the North he was a declamatory artist and wrote
the declamatory German
but transformed it when he
had been softened to meter and measure through seeing the Italian
Renaissance art which he felt to be Greek. I do not wish to spin theories,
I wish to describe feelings which anthroposophists can kindle for the
world of art. Only so shall we develop a true artistic feeling for
point. How do we behave on a stage today? Standing in the background
we ponder how we would walk down a street or through a drawing-room,
then behave that way on the stage. It is all right if we introduce this
personal element, but it does lead us away from real style in stage
direction, which always means taking hold of the spirit. On the stage,
with the audience sitting in front, we cannot behave naturalistically.
Art appreciation is largely immersed in the unconsciousness of the instincts.
It is one thing if with my left eye I see somebody walk by, passing,
from his point of view, from right to left, while, from mine, from left
to right. It is quite another thing if this happens in the opposite
direction. Each time I have a different sensation; something different
is imparted. We must relearn the spiritual significance of directions,
what it means when an actor walks from left to right, or from right
to left, from back to front, or vice versa; must feel the impossibility
of standing in the foreground when about to start a long speech. The
actor should say the first words far back, then gradually advance, making
a gesture toward the audience in front and addressing both the left
and right. Every movement can be spiritually apprehended out of the
general picture, and not merely as a naturalistic imitation of actions
on the street or in the drawing-room. Unfortunately people no longer
wish to make an artistic study of all this; they have become lazy.
Materialism permits indolence. I have wondered why people who demand
full naturalism — there are such — do not adopt a stage with
four walls. No room has three. But with a four-wall set how many tickets
would be sold?
such paradoxes we can call attention to the great desideratum: true
art in contrast to mere imitation. Now that naturalism has followed
the grand road from naturalistic stage productions to the films (neither
philistine nor pedant in this regard, I know how to value something
for which I do not care too much) we must find the way back to presentation
of the spiritual, the genuine, the real; must refind the divine-human
element in art by refinding the divine-spiritual.
would take the path to the spirit in the plastic arts also. That was
our intention in building the Goetheanum at Dornach, this work of art
wrested from us. And we must do it in the new art of eurythmy. And in
recitation and declamation. Today people do breathing exercises and
manipulate their speech organism. But the right method is to bring order
into the speech organism by listening to one's own rhythmically spoken
sentence, which is to say, through exercises in breathing-while-speaking.
These things need reorientation. This cannot originate in theory,
proclamations and propaganda; only in spiritual-practical insight into
the facts of life, both material and spiritual.
always a daughter of the divine, has become estranged from her
parent. If it finds its way back to its origins and is again accepted
by the divine, then it will become what it should within civilization,
within world-wide culture: a boon for mankind.
given only sketchy indications of what Anthroposophy wishes to do for
art, but they should make clear an immense desire to unfold the right
element in every sphere. The need is not for theory — art is not
theory. The need is for living, fully living, in the artistic quality
while striving for understanding. Such an orientation leads beyond
discussion to genuine appreciation and creation.
If art is to be fructified
by a world-conception, this is the crux of the matter. Art has always
taken its rise from a world-conception, from inner world-experience.
If people say: Well, we couldn't understand the art forms of Dornach,
we must reply: Can those who have never heard of Christianity understand
would like to lead human culture over into honest spiritual