Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lovis Corinth - Faith / Myth / History

1. In Paradise - Expulsion from Paradise. Color lithograph, 375 x 330 (14 1/2 x 13). 1920/21. Unmoved to pity, the angel expels the first man and woman from the Garden of Eden. Adam turns, his arm raised in a gesture of protest. Eve hides her face in her hand. Only the dog, which accompanies the couple on their flight, gazes with curiosity into the future. The sense of hopelessness evoked by this expulsion is accentuated by the cool, pale blue of the sky, in contrast to the radiant yellow light shining within the gates of Paradise.

2. Cain. Lithograph, 273 x 240 (11 1/16 x 9 1/4). 1915. This lithograph returns to a subject Lovis Corinth had already depicted in an etching in 1895. The composition of the two prints is also similar: his face distorted, Cain stands before the corpse of his murdered brother; overhead, vultures hover. In the 1895 etching, Cain and Abel are symbolic figures; the group is depicted with Caravaggesque lighting in a dark empty space. In this lithograph, however, Cain is portrayed as a monumental presence, boldly drawn in rough outline and set against a landscape background that lends the scene an impression of reality.

3. The Flood - The Building of the Ark. Hand-colored lithograph, 530 x 665 (20 3/4 x 26 1/4). 1923. In 1923 Lovis Corinth drew eight lithographs on the biblical subject of the Flood. In the title he adopted the popular, quaint, German spelling "Sündfluth'' (instead of the more normal "Sintflut"). "Sündfluth" recalls the reason for the catastrophe described in Genesis - it was as divine punishment for man's sins ["Sünde" = sin]. The human beings appear as small, shadowy, anonymous figures. This lithograph shows the building of the ark, which is to save Noah, his family and all the animals from the Deluge. The vessel stands in a great dockyard. In accordance with God's commands, it is being coated with tar to protect it against the water. In the foreground a man is standing by the cauldron of tar, from which purple smoke rises, spreading over the entire picture.

4. The Flood - The Flight into the Ark. Hand-colored lithograph, 520 x 648 (20 1/2 x 25 1/2). 1923. In a colorful procession, the pairs of animals selected by Noah take refuge in the ark. Lovis Corinth chooses exotic species here - giraffes, tigers, elephants, apes and an ostrich - all on their way to the ark. Above them, two herons fly with outstretched necks towards the ark, their pink-tinged plumage mingling with the colors of the setting sun.

5. The Flood - The Waters Recede. Hand-colored lithograph, 520 x 650 (20 1/2 x 25 5/8). 1923. The mountain peaks emergering from the waters are the first signs of the receding Flood. The ark, here visible in the misty background, comes to rest on Mount Ararat. In order to find out whether the Earth is dry enough, Noah first sends out a raven, then doves, the last of which returns to the ark bearing an olive twig in its beak. Lovis Corinth places the young tree from which this twig is taken in the foreground. With its fine branches and delicate coloration -spots of lime green and pale yellow - the tree becomes a symbol of the resurgence of nature.

6. Lamentation. Drypoint, 305 x 242 (12 x 9 1/2). 1920/21. This print was based on the 1908 painting of the same title.

7. The Amorous Adventures of Zeus - Calisto and Zeus-Artemis. Color lithograph, 255 x 325 (10 x 12 3/4). 1920. This depiction of Zeus and the nymph Calisto is one of a cycle of eight lithographs with a cover sheet illustrating the amorous adventures of Zeus. Calisto is shown breaking her vow of chastity in the embrace of the god, who assumed the form of Artemis, Calisto's hunting companion, in order to gain her confidence. To protect her from the jealousy of his wife, Hera, Zeus subsequently turns Calisto into a bear.

8. Train of Devotees of Bacchus. Drypoint, 240 x 300 (9 3/8 x 11 7/8). 1920/21. This print was based on Lovis Corinth's painting of 1898, "Homecoming After the Bacchanalia".

9. Birth of Venus. Etching, with white gouache highlights, 464x278 (15 7/8 x 10 7/8). 1916. Lovis Corinth used the story of Venus as subject matter on a number of occasions. Here he parodies an oil painting dating from 1896.

10. From the Life of Frederick the Great - Torgau. The King Writing on the Steps of the Altar. Color lithograph, 337 x 284 (13 1/4x 11 3/16). 1922. Here, during the Battle of Torgau, in which the Prussians defeated the Austrians, the king is depicted seated on the altarsteps of a village church, writing his battle orders for the following day.

11. From the Life of Frederick the Great - Peace. Te Deum. Color lithograph, 372 x 282 (14 5/8 x 11 3/16). 1922. The king is portrayed here as an old man. After all the successes and misfortunes of his life, Frederick the Great is depicted seated on his throne in the chapel of Charlottenburg Palace, sunk in thought, while listening to the music.

12. Götz von Berlichingen - Adelheid with the Gypsies. Etching, 275 x 215 (10 13/16 x 8 1/2). 1920/21. Impressive particularly for its handling of light, this etching shows Adelheid - author of untold intrigues, who will later poison Weislingen - sitting at a fire with two gypsy women.

1 comment:

Janas said...

Scans source: Lovis Corinth. 1858 - 1925. Prints, Drawings and Watercolors from the Family Collection. National Academy of Design, New York, 1992.