Fourth and Fifth Post-Atlantean Epochs, Medieval Art
Middle, West, and South of Europe
October 15th, 1917
I think that it is an
especially appropriate just now, to become acquainted with the most varied
areas of life, with those laws of existence which I have indicated in
these lectures. I express them by saying: these laws of existence enclose
in their realm what in the spiritual life one might call “the
weight of things, the weight of beings”. Very often, that which
has up to now presented itself as “world view”, has kept
this “weight” out of consideration. For the present time,
it seems necessary to me to understand clearly this present, this fifth
post-Atlantean time in which we live — to understand it with all
its peculiarities, in order to arrive ever more consciously at being
effective within it. You do know that we figure the beginning of the
fifth post-Atlantean age from the start of the 15th century, roughly from
1413. This means that the beginning of the 15th century is a significant
cut, a deep cut, in the evolution of occidental humanity. However, a
change such as has taken place there does not take place all at once.
It prepares for itself. And one can see this gradual growth of the new
period by observing the beginning of that new epoch. Old motives from
the earlier epoch pass into the new one. What really did experience
this powerful transformation at the beginning of the 15th century prepared
itself for a long time.
If we want to consider
another powerful change in the accident's historical growth preceding
the middle-ages, we might look at the reign of Charlemagne, 768 to 814.
You might find some difficulties with this, if you want to make alive
in you all that has occurred in the wide surroundings until Charlemagne.
It is true that for many who consider history at present such difficulties
would not exist because everything is considered to be the same. However
for him, who want to look at reality, such deep differences do exist.
And one must say: It will certainly be quite difficult for a person
of today (said in 1917) to achieve a concept of how life in Europe was
of a totally different nature up to the time of Charlemagne. But if
we consider the total of this time until Charlemagne, then we can say
that after Charlemagne, in the 10th, 11th, and 12th century — it
was already observable in the 9th — things are happening in Europe
in all parts of life, which bring forth forces that come to expression
in later time, from the 15th century on.
Now it might be said that
for the time of preparation, for the centuries just mentioned, Rome
holds the guidance of European matters to a greater degree than one
is prone admit nowadays. But one should not visualize this Papacy as
being, in its activity and effects, like the Papacy of the later centuries
or even of the present time. One can rather say that the Papacy at that
time knew instinctively what West-, Middle-, and South-Europe needed for
the most important elements of life, what West-, Middle-, and South-Europe
really needed. And, as I already pointed out in the previous lecture,
that the Oriental culture was held back in a sense. It was to wait,
was to wait in the East of Europe, in Byzantinism, in Russianism. And
there it did wait. It waited until our present age.
What can be said here in
general terms shows itself with special clarity in the realm which in
a broad sense maybe called the artistic period. And if you wish to receive
a concept of what was being pushed back in those times, was pushed back
toward to the East, then compare a Russian icon
1. Russian Icon, The God-Mother of Wladimir.
2. Raphael, The Madonna Della Sedia
3. The Sistine Madonna
The picture of Mary which
comes from the East presents totally still a last sounding of that which
was held back at that time, held back to the East In such a picture,
there rules a totally different spirit than did ever rule in the West,
or the South, or Middle-Europe. Such an icon presents still today, a
figure which is really born directly out of the spiritual world. It
is not possible, if one visualized in a living way, to visualize a physical
space behind it. One is forced to imagine that behind this picture,
there is the spiritual world, and this picture is looking out of this
spiritual world. This is the character of its lines. So is everything
within it. And if one considers that basic character of such a picture,
how it is born out of the spiritual world, then one grasps what needed
to be kept away from Central Europe, from West-, Middle-, and South-Europe
especially, from the ninth century on.
4. Italian Icon: Madonna with Child
Why? Such matters must be
considered objectively as a historic question. Why was it necessary to keep
it distant? The reason is simply that the Europeans, the people of Middle-,
West-, and South-Europe had totally different abilities, totally different
soul-impulses. They would not have been in the position to understand out
of their original nature what in fact had been pushed back towards the
East, what had been held back. The nature of the West-Europeans,
the soul-nature of the people of West-Europe was directed towards something
totally different. And if that which was pushed back to the East would
have been transplanted to Middle-, West-, South-Europe then it could
only have remained something superficial. It could never have been combined
truly with the soul-properties of the Middle-, West-, and South-European.
It was a necessity to make space in this Middle-, West-, and South-Europe
for that which, in a sense, wanted to rise out of the depths, out of
the depths of the Folk-Soul.
With the instinct of a
genius, Rome actually understood this, even though the arguments concerning
the dogmas showed a totally different content. The content of the
dogma-arguments are simply not the content of the whole and true history.
But for what was truly the question, the arguments concerning the dogmas
were, what I would call, only the last spiritual expression. The real
considerations were much broader, among others what I just characterized.
And so we see that from the ninth century on, through the following
centuries, there was created by Rome a space with a strong hand, so there
could be developed what their Folk-Soul was striving for. But that for
which the Folk-Soul was striving showed itself with great clarity.
You see, if one takes
a look at what would have come about if the Easter approach had not
been pushed back but had stretched out all over Europe — Charlemagne
actually had made a beginning for this — something would have
come over Europe in a superficial way. I already have said this —
a certain looking at substance like things (Steiner used a word, which
is not a usual German word: Gegenstandlichkeiten, an English
equivalent might be “substancelynesses”) which are breaking
out of the spiritual world immediately. This was not to happen for the
time being. For in Europe, there was to be preparing the materialistic
fifth post-Atlantian"time-space". And this had prepared itself
just in this Middle-Europe in the most significant way. Interest was
directed above all to something other than line, form, and color which are
speaking immediately out of the spiritual world. The interest was above
all directed to matters occurring within time, to what plays within
time, to what can be told, to what is an event.
And even when considering
a single being, a single person, one looked at him totally from the
point of view of how he stands in the sequence of events which are suitable
for being told. The period of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries
therefore also can be called the time of the Roman-German Emperors,
because then there spread, from Rome, just this interest for telling
things, the interest of forming, of being active in this particular
You see, this is again
a different way of looking at it than the points of view I stressed
last year, that is in the previous cycle of lectures on these subjects
last year. This “working together” of the Middle-European
Emperor with the essence of the Roman Church and its expansion, that
is definitely the inner image of the manner in which that tine, the
fifth post-Atlantean age in Middle-Europe prepared itself. Hence we
see that in this Middle-Europe this time space prepared itself in such
a way that, to begin with, there really existed very little interest
in the spatially forming arts. You will remember from many descriptions
which I gave you last year, that spatially forming art was brought here
from the Orient, then spread, I would like to say, “through the
cracks” of what was the main interest. That which was grown through
lived in the local people themselves, that is being told, And what was
to become a tale the people wanted to accept and have it with their
Just look, how splendid
pictures of middle-European life — the Rhein area, the Danube area,
the area of the Northern coast — we do meet in the descriptions of
the Nibelungs-, the Walthari-, the Gudrun-Song. You can tell the interest
for the events of the time from the way these poetic songs are given. And
just look how in the Heliand, in that poetic tale which was created
after the age of Charlemagne, how there were woven-in the tales of the
gospels in figures of European Character. Observe how there, really the
character of the biblical events was taken up by the immediate interests
of Middle-Europe. That which lived in the European folk-souls was to be
born out of these folk-souls themselves. Therefore the oriental tradition
was pushed back. This tradition relates to the age only very little. It
relates very little to history. Hence it was pushed out of the way. And
then, if we see how these European Volkinterests come to the
surface out of the deep folk-believes, it is difficult for us. It is today
often possible only with great difficulty to involve ourselves deeply into
that inner warmth, into that soul-connection with which at that time the
European's spirit connected his own deep feelings with the important
spiritual events. One would like to say, “What was held back into
the Orient points out into spatial endlessness, and what it describes
comes out of the widths of space.” That which was to surface in
Middle-Europe was to come up straight from the human soul, from the depths
of the human soul itself, not from the widths of space, but from the
depths of soul.
The secretive workings in
the depths of the soul, below the surface of immediate perception, this
was a thing which truly lived in the souls at that time. In those centuries
mentioned, people were deeply penetrated by the thought that such a human
soul carried at its fundament hidden, unknown, impulses, which surfaced
only occasionally, in moments of the soul's inner celebration. Of this,
people of those centuries were deeply convinced. They felt in a way, that
life is deeper than what the eyes see, what the ears can hear etc., that
this comes from bottomless depths. And I would like to say that we perceive
a kind of resounding of this when we hear something beautiful, such as a
little poem of Walther von der Vogelweide. He certainly
is the ending of the age of pure speaking, of that age where the ability
did not exist to bring that to expression in image form, which sounds
imageless in the soul's depths, and we are moved by this depth when
we allow a verse of a poem of Walther von der Vogelweide to speak to
us, where he, as an old man, looking back upon his life, does speak
of his own life. When he had matured, when wisdom had entered his soul and
cast many a light upon the soul-depths from where earlier only secretive
depths had sent their waves as in a dream, there a mood came upon Walther
von der Vogelweide which he expressed in the following way:
Oh dear, where have all my years disappeared to!
Is my life dreaming or is it true?
What seamed real always, was it a dream?
I have slept a long time, and do not know it myself.
Now I have awakened, and to me is unknown
What before I knew as well as my other hand.
“Oh weh, wohin entschwanden alle meine Jahr!
Träumte mir mein Leben, oder ist es wahr?
Was mir stets dünkte wirklich, war's ein Traumgesicht?
Ich habe lang geschlafen und weiss es selber nicht.
Nun bin ich erwacht, und mir ist unbekannt,
was sonst mir war so kundig wie meine andere Hand.”
So does Walther von der
Vogelweide speak at the end of this time-space of 300 years, (The 10th,
11th, 12th, centuries), the age of blossoming of the Roman-German
emperorship, which ended with this time. It is that time, when the interest
of what was happening was growing especially strongly. The art of Middle-
West- and Southern- Europe demands presentation, picture-expressions of
occurrence, of development. Looking towards the East, one finds the
expression of existence, of being present, of calm, of the calm looking
down from the spiritual world. What was happening here in Middle-Europe,
into which the human soul was born there, where the human soul was
connected with the greatest, the most secretive, that also urged for
pictorial presentation. For that, however, it needed the fertilization
from the South, which had still retained the memories of old traditions
that had found their way over from the orient. To express that which is
occurring, that was then what was striven for above all.
And so there existed two
opposing impulses in the occident's striving concerning the arts. Because,
although it is certainly true that describing of what exists was pushed
back to the East, where the icons need to be formed according to strong
rules. And other things also had regulations which were taken up from
old usage and against which it was not allowed to act, concerning the
usage of the lines, the expressions, etc. All that also found its way
into the occident. But along with it there exists the need, the desire,
to connect whatever was experienced in the surroundings with that which
had come as tradition, via the South, to middle Europe. Of course what
was formed first through that desire for pictures was the simple, primitive
picturing of biblical tales, of the biblical history. Only in the three
following centuries, the 13th, 14th and 15th, there arose to Middle-Europe
the strength, of what I would call “pictorial picturing”.
This strength we owe to a specific fact. We owe this strength to the
fact that in those centuries, in the 13th, 14th, 15th centuries, what
made its growth above all in Middle- and Southern Europe was what we might
call the “Rulership of the Cities”, “the flourishing
of the Cities”. Those cities which were at that time proud of their
forceful sovereignty, they developed in their midst the forces specific
to the people. And because those forces were not applied uniformly,
neither into the old Roman-German emperorship, which at that time was
in a period of descend, nor into what later was called the “Community
of the State”, because these cities were sovereign within themselves,
they could develop specific forces exactly as was necessary for the
individuality of the grounds, and for the way of living in the most
specific locations. The time of the 13th, 14th, 15th centuries cannot
be understood, without considering again and again that it was the time
of the blossoming of the Freedom of the Cities.
Let us now think ourselves
into this “Blossoming of the Freedom of the Cities”, in
what this “City-Freedom” came to regarding the artistic.
Certain traditions had been retained from Rome. The main part had been
sectioned away to the East. But certain traditions had remained. Such
traditions were the character of the lines, of the use of color, of
the expression of the face. Eyes had to be painted in a certain way.
Equally, the nose had to be painted in a specific way. But all this
conflicted with the need to picture that which is happening. This fight
of the two impulses we can observe where — I would like to say
— the artistic dares to come forward for the first time, where
it begins to come out, where — I would like to say — the
monk trained in Rome allows himself to be overtaken by what comes to
him from Middle-Europe, from the inner call to show the biblical matters.
This showing was not only so that the figures which occur in the bible
as though they were looking out of the spiritual world are seen, but
so that the biblical itself is a picture of how the human being lives
among human beings. That is now given as a task to the monk in his lonely
work. When he painted his miniatures and pictured there the biblical
scenes, he had to account on one hand for the rest of the traditions,
and on the other hand on the forming of life which wanted to move on
Today I have two examples
of such miniature-paintings to bring to you, from which you can see
how in the 11th, 12th, century — it is also visible in the 13th
— that there shows just in this small kind of painting, what is
traditional painting in the battle which is now happening.
Look at such a picture out
of a prayer book which shows “The Birth of Christ.” We know
this picture already from the last year. (Lecture VII)
5. Miniature: Birth of Christ and Annunciation to
Look how much of it reminds
you of the tradition of simple existing. Look at how here still —
I would like to say — the figures are pictured so that they have
not included what man observes in the outer, naturalistic reality in
which we live, but how the forms here are still all borne out of the
image of the spiritual world, which the human being has envisioned.
There, the Saints come, there the Christ-Figure itself comes, everything
still comes out of another world. Behind the picture-surface we can
imagine nothing but the spiritual world, naturally spoken radically,
and as an image. Not a trace yet about what reminds one of naturalism!
Observe how there is not a trace of perspective, not a trace of an attempt
to picture space in any manner, everything on a flat surface, but still
picturing everything spiritual. And yet, when you look at each figure
separately, you will Observe, though it is done clumsily it is there
— the effort to express something. You will observe that two things
battle with each other. Look at the eyes at the figure on the right,
and you will observe there something of tradition, that he who painted
in in his cloister-cell still carried in his mind the instruction: You
must picture the eyes in a certain way. The expression must be this
and that... But the painter was already fighting this. In a sense, he
already adjusted the glance to the situation, to the event.
Exactly in this kind of
small paintings which have been used for the Gospel-, for the Bibles,
we see those two principles battling each other. Next to it, though,
you will see what still can be seen so strongly by Cimabue, namely the
Oriental forming of existence. The angel-figures up here are presented
in an Oriental way. We are definitely reminded up here of a speaking
out of the spiritual world itself, of a description of existence, not
of what is happening. It is only an oriental echo of the idea of the
pictorial in painting, already at the time of Cimabue.
The second picture is another
I prepared. It comes from a prayer book in Trier.
6. Miniature: Birth of Christ — The Announcement
to the Shepherds
Here you see the “Announcement
of the Shepherds” below, the “Birth of Christ” above.
Exactly when you see this “Announcement to the Shepherds”,
where the angels announce to the shepherds the “Gloria in the
Heights and Peace on Earth to the Human Beings of Good Will”,
then you can definitely find the mixing together of these two impulses.
How already at the three faces of the men we meet the striving: Let
us picture what is happening! How the tradition still has its effect!
I would like to say, “just feel it from the wings of the angels
up there, that there was written in a Book.” Wings must be formed
in such a way that they run at an angle against the main scene, that
they point to one side, and other advice like this. You do sense the
rules, and at the same time you feel in such a description the breaking
in of a pressure, which cannot really be active, of the pressure towards
observation of what is happening. Do get the feeling for this, and observe
with all of this, just to see how little observation of nature is present,
that all of this is only, I would like to say, only lives as a possibility,
while rules, prescriptions how to do such a thing, were still thought
of as essential.
And now, we see how in the
course of three centuries of Roman-German Emperorship, and before the
founding of the cities something happened. The desire to picture what is
happening in combination with that which is prescribed, leads in middle
Europe, with a certain suddenness to the most beautiful flourishing.
Cologne is one of those cities, where the freedom flourished most
intensively, and where it was possible at the same time to accept, by
intensive spreading of the Catholic-Roman way, to accept that which had
come out of the East in the old traditional art of creating forms. No
wonder then, that just in Cologne we are met with the possibility to bring
together in the most wonderful way, to weave together, the two impulses.
There was the matter of the ancient, honorable tradition, where one knew
through it “This is how a Madonna looks.” and there existed the
strong desire to show through pictures what is happening. What a Madonna
has to look like! In the East this had become rigid in spirituality,
majestic, dignified, but fastened in spirituality. It needs to wait.
The motion is brought into it in the West. That which had come down
from heaven as manifestation of the Madonna-figure, what lives in the
Russian Madonna so grandiosely dignified, is penetrated by what one
can see immediately. What is shown is the most beautiful that can manifest
in the human face, the dearest, immediate expression of the human ability
to love, of human friendliness, human well-meaing, all that, which lives
in the surroundings in the warmest connection with the honored figure
of the Madonna.
Visualize this, and then
look at the picture a master of Cologne painted, which is thought to
be by the so-called “Master Wilhelm”.
7. A Master of Cologne, Madonna with the Bean-Blossom
Here you can see what I want
to indicate. Here you can see how there is the attempt to bring into the
presenting of Mary the life, the idea that something is happening,
becoming. Here the individualistic observation is carried into the
traditional, down into all details. I would like to say that one sees the
striving to consider the old rules only in regard to their attitudes,
noble figures, majestic figures, but no longer down into the carrying of
the lines. That is, the tradition is already enlivened by the individual
observation. This is what we can admire so much by this master.
And now, the other picture
by the same master,
8. Master of Cologne. The Face-Cloth of Veronica.
Which shows what I just
explained through another example. Just think how much of the traditionally
secret form is contained in this picture of the Redeemer's face, of
Veronica's face. One can clearly see immediately that it is a manifestation
out of the depths of the soul. Try to make it alive for yourself how
individualized those angel faces below are already. In this picture,
it is no longer possible to imagine the heavens immediately behind it.
But something else is possible! Behind that picture, which came out
of the oriental thinking one can immediately visualize the spiritual
world — something else yet than the picture actually presents.
Here, it is also possible to visualize something else than the picture
shows. One senses much of what has happened before, of what one knows
from the bible. One senses much of what has to follow. One senses that
something is happening. And what is shown is a scene from a before and
afterwards. So, what is felt, is not a spirit-realm, but something like a
before and after. Even if each single thing is shown — the pictorial
arts must do this after all — yet each individual thing is singled
out of what is happening. That is what, I would like to say, “meets
us” as the closing of that period in which Rome, through its deep
understanding, has created space in Europe through three or four centuries,
for that which wanted to come out of the “folk-nature”,
out of the character of that group of people. What this master who worked
in Cologne, who had such high talents, has created, appears to us like
a conclusion of all this.
So here, this flowing into
each other of the two impulses which I characterized, shows itself
especially clearly. And now, in order to show you the forces which were
active there everywhere, a few paintings of that painter who came from
Konstanz, where he probably was taught, and who then went through other
countries, learned many a thing, then arrived in Cologne and became, in a
sense, the follower of that Master of Cologne, Stephan Lochner. The first
painting is a picture of Mary, we already know it. ( Lecture III)
8. Stephan Lochner, The Adoration of the Kings.
From this painting you see the
desire to bring to complete expression the forming through the individual
figures. All you need to do, is to compare the heads with each other. You
can see this effort. It is true that you still see no possibility to
utilize space. Everything is on the surface. You still see no possibility
to apply any kind of perspective. But you see the longing, the drive, the
instinct, to hold fast through pictorial presentation that, which one
could be telling, as something which is occurring. You see the drive to
characterize. You are looking at a before and an after. You see presented
as a scene, what is described pictorially.
Now I would like to consider
that the two previous pictures, which we have shown the pictures by
the “Master from Cologne”, are pictures from his time of
highest achievement. That is about from the year 1370 to 1410, hence
just at the time, when the fourth post-Atlantian Age finds its end.
This picture by Stephan Lochner already is of the fifth post-Atlantian
age. What I have shown you then, are pictures of following ages. Between
them lies the border between the fourth and fifth post-Atlantean
And what is the most
characteristic element in these pictures? Can we not see the fifth
post-Atlantean epoch playing into these special characteristics? Don't
we see it in the eyes of Maria, when they glance down? Don't we see it in
the blessing little hands of the child, in the different facial expressions
of the right and the left figures? Don't we see there, what becomes the
most characteristic element in the fifth Post-post-Atlantean age:
Including the personality, the individuality, into the pictorial
presentation? Can't we see here the entering of the personality? And
above all, don't we see here already the longing to bring to expression
that which is the most important for Middle Europe, what in this fifth
post-Atlantean time is in regard to painting the most meaningful element
for Middle-Europe, the Dark-and-Light in which the human being lives. It
is the time when the human being does not only see, but in which he also
feels his life because the light brings him joy, because the light brings
him life, because he goes to rest with the dark, because in the dark he
draws back into secret depths of soul. This living in the world of single
individual souls, which appears particularly in the fifth post-Atlantean
time-space, this we see also in the appearance of the light-and-dark, in
the dividing of the light-masses. We see in the middle the light above
the child. We see this light dividing itself into left and right, into
individual masses, becoming light towards the height, not anymore just
finding, in the previous manner, just the gold-ground, but in the
What we also observe here
is the entering of what is individual, personal. This is what we observe
here. And no-one can really look at the sequence of these things which
we have just presented, without becoming aware that, even if only very
gently, something totally new is entering as the element of the fifth
post-atlantean time-space at the time of the dwindling off of the fourth
post-Atlantean age. Let us look once more at the previous picture of
10. Master of Cologne, Madonna with the Sweet Pea
Keep this child's face well
in your mind, and try to feel how much of tradition still lives there.
And now we will look once more at the other one:
11. Stephan Lochner, The Adoration of the Kings
Take a look at the Madonna
and the Child, and see here how there has truly come a new initiative,
how a truly new impulse of an individual approach enters. And it is
the same with the following pictures of Stephan Lochner, where I stress
specifically that Stephan Lochner does come from the area where there
was the greatest resistance to maintain the tradition, since it was
there that the strongest drive existed to form what is individual, what
is considered right by the person. It is the area around the Lake of
Constance, the area of Southern Bavaria, the area of Southern Austria.
There lived the tribes which, according to their nature, strove for
what is individual, who resented most what is traditional.
Now Stephan Lochner was
fortunately combining with this, what I would like to call
“South-German Intensity” to aim towards the individual
approach while there was still alive the great, deeply holy tradition
of the elders.
Because there lived in him
the revolutionary urge more strongly than it lived in the “Master
of Cologne”, there did live in him the individual urge, to bring
forth this picture. through connecting this revolutionary, individual
inner urge with the smoothly typical of tradition. So he painted this
12. Stephan Lochner, Madonna with the Violet
For such an artist as Stephan
Lochner, the art of space had not yet been invented. Picturing space,
that was not yet a skill in Cologne, but there was the attempt to bring
the soul into what is being painted.
And one can relate these
things completely to the happenings of world-historical development,
when comparing such a picture with a Madonna of the East:
13. Russian icon: The Divine Mother of Wladimir
Now look at the next picture
14. Stephan Lochner, Madonna in the Rose Garden
which you also know already. (Lecture III) Look
especially how this joining into each other, this working into each other
what is individual and what is generally typical, is particularly
noticeable by Stephan Lochner, how in his work the light and dark is
already notable, although there is definitely no effort to master the
space, to acquire perspective. But in the dark and light we see another
way to master the space than is achieved by perspective. And of course,
it is just exactly in the South, where, one might say, perspective was
invented by Brunellesco, as I explained to you last year.
15. Stephan Lochner. Christ
on the Cross
Here you do see, how actually
there is no trace of composition, how even there where the picture would
have encouraged to study the space, there is nothing concerning space,and
how on the other hand, there is the attempt to form individually everyone
of the secondary figures, even to individualize the Savior. Do remember,
please, the paintings of the “Master of Cologne” which you
saw before , the two pictures and compare them with the four paintings
of Stephan Lochner you saw before.
It is unavoidable that you
receive a deep impression of what stands between the two. For this is
the difference between the fourth and the fifth post-Atlantian ages.
Stephan Lochner seeks to picture with soul, but he already seeks to
find the forms through which the soul expresses itself within the creations
of nature. The Master from Cologne was still hovering in a supersensible
form experience and this he expressed from out of an inner feeling.
He does not express them through looking at a model. Here, you can already
note a looking at the model, so that the soul shows by itself what it has
to say, how it presents itself. The Cologne Master is still an expresser
of his own feeling. Stephan Lochner is already an imitator of nature.
That, in fact is realism. There, naturalism shows itself. And we can
draw as sharp a border between the two approaches as we can draw between
the two painters who are really barely decades apart.
You see that the laws, which
we seek to understand through Spiritual Science are really expressing
themselves in the various spheres of life, if one can place them before
one's soul, not with weight, but with weightiness.
And now, I would like to
place this fact before your souls once more, by showing you two painters
who were active more in the South. What has been presented just now
happened in Cologne. Now we are looking more to the South, to Bavaria,
to the area of Konstanz, Ulm, or the Rhein. Let us see there, how the
situations before and after this incisive change through which the forth
post-Atlantian time-section is separated from the fifth show themselves.
There I would like to let you see to begin with two pictures by Lucas
Moser who lived in the beginning of the 15th century, and can definitely
be included in the fourth post-Atlantean time space.
Look at this picture:
16. Lukas Moser, The Saints' Trip Across the Ocean
Try here to feel how
everything there is still painted so that one notices: If you do paint
figures next to each other, you must paint one “en face” the
other one in profile. If you paint waves, you must paint them this way.
You see there the whole playing of the waves of the ocean not observed,
but painted “according to prescription”. There you see the
figures ordered “according to prescription”. There you see
nothing painted after observation. All this is one thing put next to the
other. So, this picture from the altar of Tiefenbronn, then, shows The
Saint's Travel on the Sea. (A part of the Magdalen Altar in Tiefenbronn.
(Lecture 8 )
The next picture presents
“the Resting, the Nights Rest” of the same Saints.
17. Lucas Moser, The Saints Rest
You see a house of the
middle-ages, built by a church. You will probably notice how little
anything there has been painted by observation, how everything has been
drawn from memory. At the left, at the sleeping St. Zedonius; he wears the
sleeping. He still wears the glove. Everything was “according to
order”, and what really carries the main interest is placed almost
secretly only. Just think, this is a continuous trip the saints are making,
a travel of the Saints. They “travel through the sea” they
have a “Night-rest”. It is a story. And still, what there
has become a picture, totally shows a tradition. Take a look also at
Lazarus there, resting in the lap of his sister!
When we have such a picture
before us, we can look back to what was shown in earlier times. This,
then, is the end of the fourth post-Atlantean Age. In the West also, it
was prescribed how such pictures in churches were to be painted.
The painter received, so to speak, the order out of the traditions:
This is how a St. Zedonius looks, or a St. Magdalen, this is how a St.
Lazarus looks, etc.. This he had to paint. That was prescribed, not
as rigidly as in the East, but prescribed nevertheless. But he needed
also to look at the drives, at the instincts, at the interests, and
was to create tales. That is how things swam into each other, they battle
with each other at the end of an age.
So we are looking back into
the 13th, 12th, 11th century. In all churches, there was pictured what
was strictly prescription. One picture looked like the other, all the
way through Christianity, varied only a little according to how things
were requested. Once St. Zedonius was ordered, he was being painted
how it was prescribed. That was the tradition. Now we visualize the cut,
the beginning of the fifteen's century, and go on from Lukas Moser, who
was the last of the fourth post-Atlantean time-space, to Hans Multscher,
and we see how this painter now really stands totally in the beginning,
in the dawn, of the fifth post-Atlantian age. Look at this picture.
18. Hans Multscher, The Birth of Christ
There you have again the
appearance of the individual, the personal. With Lucas Moser, you do
not see the slightest desire to look at nature. Here you find a person,
who, in spite of having not the slightest idea of any way to work with
space, in spite of the fact that everything is freely mixed together,
that he has no idea about space or perspective, who characterizes from
out of his soul, but the way that nature itself does characterize. He
already attempts to form, to picture, individual figures.
19. Hans Multscher, Christ at the Mount of Olives
(now ascribed to the so called, “Master of the Sterzinger
Altars,” probably a co-worker of Multscher).
What I have just explained,
will strike you in this picture, especially if you look at the three
sleeping forms below. There already is the attempt to bring to expression
the nature of sleeping. Compare that with what you can remember of the
“Saints on the Ocean”, “at rest”, then you will
see what powerful change of the dev elopement lies between the two. And
look, how consciously the dark-and-light penetrates into the picture. Then,
simply and only through this, not through any kind of perspective, the
painter achieves an organization of space. The perspective is definitely
incorrect, for there is not even a single clear point of view. Nowhere
will you find a point from which the whole situation could be considered
organized, but there is an organization of space, which even is of a
certain beauty, through the dark-and-light.
20.Hans Multscher, Burial
(Now thought of as a work of the “Master of the
Sterzinger Altar”, probably a co-worker of Multscher)
Look at this “Burial”
You will find that everything, down to the treatment of the landscape,
is as it needed to be described as the entering of the individual into
the traditional. What shows, is the interest in what is happening, not
merely the interest to picture that which comes out of the spiritual
20. Hans Multscher, Resurrection
You see here that
individualization enters into the whole picture, through the attempt to
present the guardians in a corresponding manner. The turning of the bodies
is to contribute to the individualization. Please look at the one up there
on the left, how there is an attempt to create a special situation, a
special experiencing of carrying out ones own kind of not-paying attention
in an individual way. Try to see how the painter attempted to show the
head of the one guard from the front, how he shows the other one with the
head from the back. One can see has there enters the striving to form in
an individual way.
Also one sees the dark-and
-light entering. One can see that the effort is made to give form to
the space by means of individualizing, for perspective does not exist
yet. If you want to visualize the point from which the lines of vision
go to the figures, you will have to think of them fairly far forwards.
For the sarcophagus however, you will have to think of it somewhere
else again, and for the trees! They are painted in a completely frontal
I wanted to show you that the
lawful impulses of development are deeply effective. I spoke of than
already the last time, when showing the pictures of Italian painting. Also
I wanted to show you that one can only understand what is characteristic
for our age from the 15th century on, by clearly understanding the whole
deep meaning of that age which formed the division between the fourth
and fifth post-Atlantean epoch at the beginning of the 15th century.
All that transformed there was already living within what was happening
and growing in Europe from the ninth century on. At that time there
was held back that, which Europe was not capable of doing because out
of the depths of its being it needed to give substance to something
else. But that, which was held back towards the East has been waiting
since. Developing a consciousness of what has been waiting there and
what wanted to come to the surface in the West. This, people ought to
make their task, for those forces are definitely existing still. These
forces are still active in what is occurring today, they want to be
active still. And to acquire a clear understanding of what pulses through
the world, of what is active in the world, is a pressing necessity for
the present age. I have stressed this now, and really did stress this
again and again for quite some time. I wanted to make this clear for
you today through the description of the development of the art of the
middle-ages at this characteristic span of time.
You see, there we arrive
at, I would like to say, two waves of occurrence. One wave is the one
which still is bringing upward something with the character of the East
from the South, the other did, I would like to say, come by itself out
of the depths. And in these centuries, the 13th, the 14th, the 15th
century, the centuries of the “Freedom of the Cities”, there
that which wanted to make itself come to the surface from the souls
depths was most intensive. Then, starting at the 16th century there
was a drawing-back — evolution goes in waves, evolution oscillates.
Of course this did not become known widely right away, for the continuation
of what I showed you about as developing in the 15th century, that lives
on one side in van Eyck, on the other side in Dürer, Holbein etc.
We see in the Netherlands,
towards Burgundy, on the one hand, on the other side we look towards
Nuremberg, Augsburg, Basel, and we see the effect of what wanted to
happen. We see the wave which moves up out of the depths of the souls,
in order to help begin the fifth post-Atlantean age.
I intended to present to
you only one of the impulses working within this fifth post-Atlantian
age. About other impulses I am speaking, as you know, just at this time,
at the most varied occasions.