by Marie Steiner
(abbreviated from the original)
The impulses of regeneration given to
mankind in this series of lectures,
Art as Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom,
will only be understood by those who are
able to assimilate the nature of spiritual science fully in
such a way that for them the concreteness of the spiritual
world, its richness of form and being, has become a
self-evident fact. Rudolf Steiner, fully equipped with the
most modern scientific methods and with the utmost singleness
of thought, has brought the reality of the spiritual world
close to his contemporaries and has shown them how the ego of
mankind is placed at the focal point of the development of
consciousness and how mankind must grasp this ego with full
knowledge. One path towards the grasping of the ego in the
fullness of life's experience, but also in sun-filled
contemplation, is the path of art. It is one of the
healthiest and most revealing and most direct; it was the
last to leave its source in the temple of mystery wisdom and
has not been so quickly buried as has the path of religion by
the passion of the church for power or the path of science by
the rigidity of thought born out of the materialistic age.
For these three paths once more to find each other, for art,
science and religion once more to unite and intermingle
— it was for this that Rudolf Steiner worked among us.
He turned his fullest attention to each of these paths; in
their living synthesis he saw the salvation of mankind. They
worked together once in the ancient, holy mysteries, bringing
into existence and filling with light and nourishment all the
cultural epochs of the earth; in the same way they must again
be brought together and reunited through the knowledge of
their undivided spiritual origin.
Man must now
awaken within himself a knowledge of this living and
essential union. This he can do in complete freedom through
careful investigation and practice, if he does not timidly
close his being in the face of superior and as yet unknown
powers, if he does not bow before the restraining influence
of the church, nor before the authority of dogmatic science.
The stages along the path have been revealed to man under the
wise and entirely impersonal guidance of one who knows it and
who, in conformity with the demands of our time, has not
appealed to the human craving for submission and devotion but
only to men's capacity for knowledge.
stage is study; the basis for understanding what is presented
in this series of lectures is the study of spiritual science.
The works of Rudolf Steiner can supply this basis for
penetrating the mysteries which are the foundation of man's
artistic creativity. Their impulses, acting from the
super-sensible sphere, must now be led from the dullness of
the subconscious into the wakefulness of ego-consciousness.
Art is beginning to wither; art, too, has already choked the
flow from its living spiritual source. Observation through
the senses, imitation of fortuitous situations on the
physical plane, over-emphasis of the personality: along these
paths art has moved right away from its spiritual origin. To
tie the torn threads together again, to recover the original
spirit, once more to tread the lost road in freedom and the
joy of knowledge with the newly-acquired forces of the
awakened personality: this is the task of mankind today. It
is hoped that the deep wisdom, the beauty and the strength
speaking out of the words of Rudolf Steiner published in this
book will be a help to this end!
A renewal of
art will never be brought about by dallying with modern
decadence or by compromise, but only by a return to the
spiritual founts of life. How great is the responsibility of
anyone who has drunk at these springs. Surely he cannot see
mankind thirsting without pointing out the remedy which could
remedy lies in unlocking the wisdom of the mysteries and
presenting it to humanity in a form adapted to contemporary
demands. The new initiation science must call upon man's
power of thought, his sense of art and style, and also the
eternal essence of his being, by summoning him to conscious
alertness in all these domains.
words, pictures and deeds Rudolf Steiner summoned human
beings to wakefulness in each of these three spheres. He has
created works that give art a new orientation. He has
delivered it from rigidity and brought movement into it; he
has restored life to what had been strangled. Perhaps his
manifold obligations in other domains would never have given
him the chance to revive all the realms of art as he did, if
the erection of the Goetheanum
[ footnote 1 ]
had not demanded it of him and if the World War, by curtailing
some of his other activities, had not given him the time.
Goetheanum, Rudolf Steiner was able to realise his living
thoughts about architecture. He could entrust them to wood,
the most alive of all building materials. A work of
inexpressible beauty came into being, deeply affecting to the
beholder by reason of the stirring force which went forth
from its forms in their succession of organic developments
and from the counterbalancing relations of direction —
the proportions of upward movement and downward movement.
Number, dimension and weight were triumphant in a triad of
sweep, elevation and direction. The building stood as man,
and man as building. The genesis of worlds, the genesis and
deeds of mankind, the deeds of the gods were all inscribed in
it; they were revealed in the waves of colour in the dome, in
the organic growth of motifs in columns and architraves, in
the luminous creation of the windows. Sculpture and painting
passed beyond their own sphere, conquered line and were
transformed into movement. Colour created form from within by
virtue of its own creative soul quality. In the
newly-blossoming art of eurythmy, tone and speech became
movement and were made visible through the instrument of the
human body. The creative forces of speech thus made visible
were reflected back to the other forms of art, reviving them
and kindling the fire of spiritual creativity. The inner tone
of creativity was able to grasp the physical tone that moulds
the air, filling it with spiritual substance and elevating it
to higher spheres. Rudolf Steiner called his building the
House of Speech. All forms of art, together with science and
mystery wisdom, had found a home there. The synthesis of art,
science and religion was once more accomplished.
building cannot rise again, unless perchance it shall be
granted to the individuals who executed the artistic work to
transform what they have learned and experienced into another
structure like it.
work that even by this time might have been an immense help
for the spiritual development of mankind will sink back as a
memory into the past, yet bearing within it a spiritual germ
for a new future. The flames on the eve of the New Year 1923
have for the present destroyed a mighty impulse for
powers have willed it so. They incited the mob against Rudolf
Steiner and are still at work trying to blacken his memory.
But the resounding clamour is impotent to destroy his
spiritual work. For it is rooted too firmly in the soil of
spiritual reality and in the needs of contemporary souls.
For the new building
[ footnote 2 ],
the most rigid material has
been employed: concrete. Like a fortress it stands, but not
withdrawn in defiance. An abode for spiritual striving, it
radiates over the landscape, welcoming all who desire to
strive for that noblest of treasures, the knowledge of the
world and of man.
Goetheanum does not claim to compete in form or effect in any
way with its predecessor which was destroyed by fire.
Nevertheless, its external form strives impressively upwards
with a bold and harmonious beauty, a final gift left to us by
the deceased master of the impulses of beauty. When he had
created this form he laid down hammer, trowel and plumb-line
and worked at the word in stillness for a little while before
leaving us. The work upon the building is now being carried
on by his pupils according to their gifts.
It was the
master's last bequest. But they have been restricted by the
hard constraint of inadequate funds; at the stubborn behest
of financial insufficiency they have had to sacrifice their
own intentions and often even specific directions given by
the master. Involuntarily the thought arises: How different
it might have been had there been sufficient funds to carry
out also inside the building what would be required by the
force of mystery impulses rooted in esoteric wisdom.
Involuntarily again and again the thought forces it way into
our minds: When and where, in what country and at what time
will it be possible to erect a building to concentrate within
itself and to radiate out again these eternal impulses that
united every detail of the burnt Goetheanum into one
world-embracing whole, bringing to expression in their forces
man and the universe, microcosm and macrocosm, thus working
with spiritual creativity and soul-fashioning force?
The first Goetheanum, destroyed by fire on New Year's night,
The second Goetheanum, now the centre of the General