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The Imagery of the Goetheanum Windows

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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The Imagery of the Goetheanum Windows

On-line since: 15th September, 2017


In June 1970, I had the opportunity of visiting the bio-dynamic farm and conference centre of Herr Wilhelm Rath at Farrach in Carinthia, Austria, to attend a conference on the first and second Goetheanum. Rex Raab was the main speaker and the Goetheanum had kindly lent their excellent large-scale photographs and diagrams of the two buildings.

One of the first lectures I heard was by Wilhelm Rath, when he showed slides of Assja Turgenieff's engravings of the coloured windows of the first Goetheanum. After speaking briefly on each window Herr Rath read the appropriate verse which he had composed as a poetic elucidation to the window in question.

Having had a long-standing and deep interest in the subject and also having been privileged to talk with Assja Turgenieff and put a great number of questions to her, I was immediately struck by the verses. For not only did they elucidate what I was seeing — they spoke to the whole man, as true art always does, not to intellect and conceptual understanding alone.

The book with the verses in German had been in my possession for a little while, and turning to them in the days and weeks that followed, I must have had such a burning desire to enable English people with no knowledge of German to share in this experience that time and again words and whole lines formed themselves in English, and it needed little encouragement to translate them all in the hope, indeed certainty, that with their help the Goetheanum windows would do for many people what Rudolf Steiner said they would: “open vistas into the spiritual world.” [Understanding and enjoyment of the pictures will be greatly enhanced if reading and looking is shared by two people. A.W.M.]

While working on this preface the news came of Wilhelm Rath's death on January 13th 1973, in his 76th year. I therefore feel a very special obligation to complete this book and to offer it to everyone in gratitude to, and in memory of, Wilhelm Rath. The translations were completed before 1972 and were seen and read by Herr Rath who was very glad to know that his verses would now be available in English.

A. W. Mann

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