The Seductive Line: Eroticism in the Early 20th Century Germany

October 29, 2016

Modern German artists, especially enveloped in the Weimar Republic, have an eerie perspective on the nature of humanity. As is demonstrated with these etchings, there is no longer a celebration or a humanism in representing mankind. Note how historically in the West, and recharged with the Renaissance, the anthropomorphic form was consistently utilized to imagine myths and represent the transcendent, e.g. pagan gods. It was, in other words, utilized as a conduit in visualizing a greater order than the one man is; and while this is essentially pagan, it serves the purpose of finding reverence with human flesh. What on Earth happened at the turn of the 20th century which led to this deviancy among the Germanic tribes of central Europe? I’ve noted before that the opportunity has arisen post-mortem of God for artists being liberated from religious edifications.

 

Yet it has mostly been squandered for myriads of reasons; chiefly because the practitioners of art are more social miscreants who cannot be functional with other members of society and are drawn to scorning them. I detect that this bitter flavor that is tasted here is more of the same. It is not to say that the human form ought to be glorified; but it ought to be respected as being beautiful. Has this subject manner of the natural beauty of the human figure been tried out by the time these artists gave their impressions of licked charcoal figures? Clearly not, as Matisse and Picassodashingly testify to. It is not surprising then why these artists in this show are unnamed and merely a cloister of quasi-school doodlers too incapable of making anything beautiful and henceforth meaningful.Take the redundant Adam and Eve portrayal.

 

Even at the most harrowing paintings The Fall, The Renaissance period never interpreted the paragon of God’s creation, mankind, so hideously. There was never any shame in the subject matter; simply a recording of the facts of the nature of mankind within the world. And take the uncomfortable attention to the genitalia – this is an erotic exhibition after all – to remind man of his futility. We can feel the rush of pleasure in the artist’s mind, not so much in their efforts to investigate the nature of man’s nakedness, but to expose it, and to shame them, much in the same manner as God Himself; and yet, clearly, with the narrative of The Fall, we do not have an Omnipotent One that can possibly foster any sense of schadenfreude for man’s failing. God surely was disappointed; he did not revel in the shortcomings of mankind. This then indeed is a negative reaction to nihilism, while being consistent with mankind’s self-deification. He no longer sees the world and creation and humanity as being a part of something beautiful. It is a part of a nothingness, and the composition of that nothingness in human form is depicted, if not judgmentally, sourly.

 

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