Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fighting Forms

Franz Marc 1914

He painted this work on the eve of World War I, when he saw the war as a horrific necessity that would purify Europe of the evils that had enveloped it - even his own beloved country, Germany.

In 1911 he, August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky - and a few others decided to break off from the accepted German arts hierarchy and form Der Blaue Reiter, the seeds of German expressionism. They used strong colors, modified cubist forms, and stark, nearly abstract compositions to convey the very strongest human emotions extremely effectively. In his eyes, colors had certain emotions that could not be separated from the pigments. I wonder if he had synesthesia - a type of sensory cross-over in the brain, in his case where colors perceived through the eyes stimulated the emotion centers in the brain along with the sight centers. We all have some sort of emotional attachment to colors, but his seemed most visceral.

I have had a hard time taking my eyes off from his works the last few days. Fighting Forms in particular seems to sum up, in a way words can't the emotions rolling around in my country, my family, and in my own soul.

Franz Marc was included on a list of culturally significant men who were in the Army that were to be kept out of combat - painters, composers, writers, and the like. He was killed in 1916 at the battle of Verdun before this edict could be carried out.


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