Arthur Schopenhauer – The Philosophy of the Will

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher best known for his book, ‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung’ – (The World as Will and Representation) , in which he claimed that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction.
Influenced to some degree by Eastern thought, his faith in “transcendental ideality” led him to accept the possibility of atheism.
At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, ‘Über die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zureichenden Grunde’ – (On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason), which examined the four distinct aspects of experience in the phenomenal world; consequently, he has been influential in the history of phenomenology.

Four classes of explanation fall under the principle’s rubric. Hence, four classes of objects occur always and already only in relation to a knowing subject, according to a correlative capacity within the subject. These classes are summarized as follows: becoming, knowing, being and willing.

Richard Wagner
Alfred Rosenberg

He has influenced a long list of individuals, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Otto Weininger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Thomas Mann, Adolf Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg.
Schopenhauer’s theory of music, along with his emphasis upon artistic genius and the world-as-suffering, was also influential among composers such as Johannes Brahms, Hans Pfitzner, Sergei Prokofiev, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakoff, and Richard Wagner.
Richard Wagner, writing in his autobiography, remembered his first impression that Schopenhauer left on him (when he read  ‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung’):
Schopenhauer’s book was never completely out of my mind, and by the following summer I had studied it from cover to cover four times. It had a radical influence on my whole life.’

‘Tristan und Isolde’

Wagner also commented that “serious mood, which was trying to find ecstatic expression” created by Schopenhauer inspired the conception of ‘Tristan und Isolde’.
Schopenhauer’s influence on ‘Tristan und Isolde’ is most evident in the second and third acts. The second act, in which the lovers meet, and the third act, during which Tristan longs for release from the passions that torment him, have often proved puzzling to opera-goers unfamiliar with Schopenhauer’s work.

Parsifal

The world-view of Schopenhauer dictates that the only way for man to achieve inner peace is to renounce his desires: a theme that Wagner explored fully in his last and greatest opera, ‘Parsifal’.
In fact Wagner even considered having the character of Parsifal meet Tristan during his sufferings in Act 3, but later rejected the idea.
Friedrich Nietzsche owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading ‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung’, and admitted that he was one of the few philosophers that he respected, dedicating to him his essay ‘Schopenhauer als Erzieher’ one of his ‘Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen’ (Untimely Meditations).

Untimely Meditations (German: Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen), also translated as Unfashionable Observations[1] and Thoughts Out Of Season) consists of four works by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, started in 1873 and completed in 1876.

Jorge Luis Borges remarked that the reason he had never attempted to write a systematic account of his world view, despite his penchant for philosophy and metaphysics in particular, was because Schopenhauer had already written it for him.

Adolf Hitler and Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein

As a teenager, Ludwig Wittgenstein, who was a school-fellow of Adolf Hitler, was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer’s epistemological idealism.

Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had a profound effect on Adolf Hitler when they were both pupils at the Realschule (lower secondary school) in Linz, Austria, in the early 1900s. Interestingly, a few days before the invasion of Poland in 1939, Hitler personally granted Mischling status to the Wittgenstein siblings – which included Ludwig.

Schopenhauer’s 19th century historical profile is frequently obscured by the shadows of Kant, Hegel,  Mill, Darwin and Nietzsche, but more than is usually recognized, in his rejection of rationalistic conceptions of the world as early as 1818, he perceived the shape of things to come.

Adolf Hitler


As a consequence of his monistic philosophy, Schopenhauer, like Adolf Hitler, was very concerned about the welfare of animals.

For him, all individual animals, including humans, are essentially the same, being phenomenal manifestations of the one underlying Will.
The word “will” designated, for him, force, power, impulse, energy, and desire; it is the closest word we have that can signify both the real essence of all external things, and also our own direct, inner experience.
Since everything is basically Will, then humans and animals are fundamentally the same, and can recognize themselves in each other.
For this reason, he claimed that a good person would have sympathy for animals, who are our fellow sufferers. 
Schopenhauer was also one of the first philosophers since the days of Greek philosophy to address the subject of male homosexuality.
In the third, expanded edition of ‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung’ (1859), Schopenhauer added an appendix to his chapter on the “Metaphysics of Sexual Love”.
He also wrote that homosexuality did have the benefit of preventing ill-begotten children.
Concerning this, he stated, “… the activity we are considering appears to work directly against the aims and ends of nature, and that in a matter that is all important and of the greatest concern to her, it must in fact serve these very aims, although only indirectly, as a means for preventing greater evils.”

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Arthur Schopenhauer – a Brief Biography


Arthur Schopenhauer was born in the city of Danzig (Gdańsk), on Heiligegeistgasse, the son of Johanna Schopenhauer (née Trosiener) and Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer, both descendants of wealthy German Patrician families.
When the Königreich Preußen annexed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth city of Danzig in 1793, Schopenhauer’s family moved to Hamburg.


Königreich Preußen
Arthur Schopenhauer as a Boy

In 1805, Schopenhauer’s father may have committed suicide.

Shortly thereafter, Schopenhauer’s mother Johanna moved to Weimar, then the centre of German literature, to pursue her writing career.
After one year, Schopenhauer left the family business in Hamburg to join her.
He became a student at the University of Göttingen in 1809.
There he studied metaphysics and psychology.
There, he wrote his first book, ‘Über die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zureichenden Grunde’.

In Berlin, from 1811 to 1812, he had attended lectures by the prominent post-Kantian philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher.
In 1814, Schopenhauer began his seminal work ‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung’.
He finished it in 1818 and published it the following year.
In 1820, Schopenhauer became a lecturer at the University of Berlin, however, only five students turned up to Schopenhauer’s lectures, and he dropped out of academia.
In 1821, he fell in love with nineteen-year old opera singer, Caroline Richter (called Medon), and had a relationship with her for several years.
He discarded marriage plans, however, writing, “Marrying means to halve one’s rights and double one’s duties,” and “Marrying means to grasp blindfolded into a sack hoping to find an eel amongst an assembly of snakes.

Arthur Schopenhauer as a Young Man

Schopenhauer had a strained relationship with his mother Johanna Schopenhauer.
After his father’s death, Arthur Schopenhauer endured two years of drudgery as a merchant, in honour of his dead father.
Then his mother retired to Weimar, and Arthur Schopenhauer dedicated himself wholly to studies in the gymnasium of Gotha.
Later he went to live with his mother, but by that time she had already opened her famous salon, and Arthur was not compatible with the ways of the salon.
Consequently, he attempted university life.

Arthur Schopenhauer in Old Age


In 1831, a cholera epidemic broke out in Berlin and Schopenhauer left the city.
Schopenhauer settled permanently in Frankfurt in 1833, where he remained for the next twenty-seven years, living alone except for a succession of pet poodles named Atman and Butz.
The numerous notes that he made during these years, amongst others on ageing,  were published posthumously under the title ‘Senilia’.
Schopenhauer had a robust constitution, but in 1860 his health began to deteriorate.
He died of heart failure on 21 September 1860 while sitting at home on his couch with his cat. He was 72.

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‘Honour means that a man is not exceptional; fame, that he is.
Fame is something which must be won; honour, only something which must not be lost.’

Arthur Schopenhauer

The Philosophy of the Will

A key focus of Schopenhauer was his investigation of individual motivation.
Before Schopenhauer, Hegel had popularized the concept of ‘Zeitgeist’.

The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time.
The German word Zeitgeist is often attributed to the philosopher Georg Hegel, but he never actually used the word. In his works such as ‘Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte’, he uses the phrase ‘der Geist seiner Zeit’ (the spirit of his time) – for example, “no man can surpass his own time, for the spirit of his time is also his own spiritOther philosophers who were associated with such ideas include Herder and Voltaire. Hegel believed that art reflected, by its very nature, the time of the culture in which it is created. Culture and art are inextricable because an individual artist is a product of his or her time and therefore brings that culture to any given work of art.

Emanuel Kant
Hegel

Schopenhauer, a reader of both Kant and Hegel, criticized their logical optimism, and the belief that individual morality could be determined by society and reason.
Schopenhauer believed that humans were motivated by only their own basic desires, or Wille zum Leben (“Will to Live”), which directed all of mankind.

For Schopenhauer, human desire was futile, illogical, directionless, and, by extension, so was all human action in the world.
He wrote “Man can indeed do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wants“.
In this sense, he adhered to the Fichtean principle of idealism: “the world is for a subject“.

Fichte
Descartes

This idealism so presented, immediately commits it to an ethical attitude, unlike the purely epistemological concerns of Descartes and Berkeley.

To Schopenhauer, the Will is a malignant, metaphysical existence which controls not only the actions of individual, intelligent agents, but ultimately all observable phenomena; an evil to be terminated via mankind’s duties: asceticism and chastity.
He is credited with one of the most famous opening lines of philosophy: “The world is my representation“.
Will, for Schopenhauer, is what Kant called the ‘Ding-an-sich‘ – (thing-in-itself).”
Nietzsche was greatly influenced by this idea of Will, while developing it in a different direction.




Art and Aesthetics

Arthur Schopenhauer’s aesthetics result from his doctrine of the primacy of the Will as the ‘thing in itself’, the ground of life and all being; and from his judgement that individuation of the Will is evil.
Schopenhauer held that art offers a way for people to temporarily escape the suffering that results from willing.
Basing his doctrine on the dual aspect of the world as will and the world as representation, he taught that if consciousness or attention is fully engrossed, absorbed, or occupied with the world as painless representations or images, then there is no consciousness of the world as painful willing.
Aesthetic pleasure results from being a spectator of “the world as representation” [mental image or idea] without any experience of “the world as will” [need, craving, urge].
Art, according to Schopenhauer, also provides essential knowledge of the world’s objects in a way that is more profound than science or everyday experience.
For Schopenhauer, the Will is an aimless desire to perpetuate itself, the basis of life.
Desire engendered by the Will is the source of all the sorrow in the world; each satisfied desire leaves us either with boredom, or with some new desire to take its place.
A world in thrall to Will is necessarily a world of suffering. Since the Will is the source of life, and our very bodies are stamped with its image and designed to serve its purpose, the human intellect is, in Schopenhauer’s simile, like a lame man who can see, but who rides on the shoulders of a blind giant.
Schopenhauer’s aesthetics is an attempt to break out of the pessimism that naturally comes from this world view.
Schopenhauer believed that what distinguished aesthetic experiences from other experiences is that contemplation of the object of aesthetic appreciation temporarily allowed the subject a respite from the strife of desire, and allowed the subject to enter a realm of purely mental enjoyment, the world purely as representation or mental image.
The more a person’s mind is concerned with the world as representation, the less it feels the suffering of the world as will.
Schopenhauer analysed art from its effects, both on the personality of the artist, and the personality of the viewer.
Schopenhauer believed that while all people were in thrall to the Will, the quality and intensity of their subjection differed:
Only through the pure contemplation . . . which becomes absorbed entirely in the object, are the Ideas comprehended; and the nature of genius consists precisely in the preëminent ability for such contemplation. . . . This demands a complete forgetting of our own person.
The aesthetic experience temporarily emancipates the subject from the Will’s domination and raises them to a level of pure perception.
On the occurrence of an aesthetic appreciation, the will thereby vanishes entirely from consciousness.”
Genuine art cannot be created by anyone who merely follows standard artistic rules.
A genius is required, that is, a person who creates original art without concern for rules.
The personality of the artist was also supposed to be less subject to Will than most: such a person was a Schopenhauerian genius, a person whose exceptional predominance of intellect over Will made them relatively aloof from earthly cares and concerns.
The poet living in a garret, the absent-minded professor, are (at least in the popular mind) examples of Schopenhauer’s geniuses: so fixed on their art that they neglect the “business of life” that in Schopenhauer’s mind meant only the domination of the evil and painful Will.
For Schopenhauer, the relative lack of competence of the artist and the thinker for practical pursuits was no mere stereotype: it was cause and effect.
Schopenhauer believed that what gives arts such as literature and sculpture their value was the extent to which they incorporated pure perceptions.
But, being concerned with human forms and human emotions, these art forms were inferior to music, which being a direct manifestation of will, was to Schopenhauer’s mind the highest form of art.

Richard Wagner

Schopenhauer’s philosophy of music was influential in the works of Richard Wagner.
Wagner was an enthusiastic reader of Schopenhauer, and recommended the reading of Schopenhauer to his friends.
His published works on music theory changed over time, and became more aligned with Schopenhauer’s thought, over the course of his life.
Schopenhauer had stated that music was more important than libretto in opera.
Music is, according to Schopenhauer, an immediate expression of will, the basic reality of the experienced world.
Libretto is merely a linguistic representation of transient phenomena.
Wagner emphasized music over libretto in his later works, after reading Schopenhauer’s aesthetic doctrine.
In proposing that art could offer deliverance from the Will, Schopenhauer elevated art from mere decoration, and held that art potentially offered temporary deliverance from the aimless strife of the Will in nature.
In effect, Schopenhauer turned art into a substitute religion by offering a doctrine of salvation through aesthetic experiences.
Artists were not merely skilled hands; they were the priests or prophets of this doctrine.
This teaching goes far to explain Schopenhauer’s appeal to members of the creative communities over the second half of the nineteenth century.
His doctrine of aesthetics justified artistic work as a matter of highest importance in human society.
Schopenhauer’s aesthetics remain influential today, and are one of the most lasting parts of his philosophy.
Their appeal to later generations of Romantics, and to all schools of bohemianism, is demonstrated.
Wagner sent Schopenhauer a note expressing deep gratitude for Schopenhauer’s discussion of music.

Thomas Mann

Schopenhauer’s philosophy in general left a deep impression on a number of important writers, especially Thomas Hardy, Marcel Proust, Stéphane Mallarmé, Thomas Mann, and Ivan Turgenev.
Schopenhauer’s aesthetics were directly responsible for the rise of the ‘Symbolists’ and their allied movements, and to the general development of the concept of ‘art for art’s sake’.

Friedrich Nietzsche

It deeply influenced the aesthetics of Friedrich Nietzsche, although he ultimately rejected Schopenhauer’s conception of Will as evil, whose famous opposition of the Apollonian and Dionysian is a translation of Schopenhauer’s opposition of intellect against will in terms of Greek mythology.
Santayana praised Schopenhauer’s doctrine that tragedy benefited audiences because it helped them to deny the will–to–live and to turn away from life. “Schopenhauer thought tragedy beautiful because it detached us from a troubled world and did not think a troubled world good, as those unspeakable optimists did, because it made such a fine tragedy. It is pleasant to find that among all these philosophers one at least was a gentleman.”


In Retrospect


There is a danger in interpreting the text of some long gone author, let alone of some heavyweight philosopher, such as Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860).

The interpreter tends to look at parts of the author’s prose that may best suit his own conclusions, while avoiding parts that other critics may find more relevant, and which the interpreter may consider either incomprehensible or irrelevant.
This is true for Schopenhauer in so far as he deals in his multi-layered work with diverse subject matters, ranging from the theories of knowledge, to the role of women, sex, eugenics, religion, etc., while offering aphoristic formulas on how to live a more or less liveable life. 

Moreover, in his entire work Schopenhauer deals extensively with the perception of objective reality, our self-perception, and how our self-perception reflects itself in the perception of the Other, for instance in the mind of my political foe or friend.

Sigmund Freud

It’s no wonder that when Schopenhauer is read along with some post-modern authors, his work can retrospectively yield some ground-breaking insights, of which even he was not aware.

The devil is often in the details, but harping on the details alone may often overshadow the whole.
Just because Schopenhauer was critical of Jewish monotheism, or made some critical remarks about women, should not lead us to the conclusion that he was a standard-bearer of anti-Semitism or a hater of women.
The fact that Adolf Hitler was one of his avid readers should not overshadow the fact that the father of modern psychoanalysis, the Jewish-born Austrian Sigmund Freud, learned a great deal from him on the how irrational will is expressed in sexual drive.

An Apolitical Meta-Politician
  

Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.’

(Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.)
Arthur Schopenhauer

How relevant is Arthur Schopenhauer ?
Friedrich Nietzsche

At first sight Schopenhauer’s prose may be dated for our understanding of the world today.
Schopenhauer can be catalogued as a thinker of the so-called intellectual conservative revolution in so far as many thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Vilfredo Pareto, Julius Evola and others, one hundred years later, were heavily influenced by his writings.

Neither can these authors be properly understood unless the reader becomes familiar with Schopenhauer’s writings first.
Secondly, Schopenhauer’s teachings about the primacy of the will spearheading our perception of reality can also be of help in grasping the political hype-rreality of the modern liberal system.
Schopenhauer’s name is usually associated with cultural pessimism.
Nevertheless, he is far from the caricature of a suicidal author harping ceaselessly on the culture of death, as was the case with many of his 20th-century successors, including the magisterial Emile Cioran.
In his aphorisms Schopenhauer provides some handy recipes as to how to minimize a life of pain and sorrow, and how to discard the dangerous illusion of happiness.
As a fine connoisseur of human psychology, Schopenhauer justly remarks that where there is a violent outburst of joy, a disaster looms just around the corner.
It is therefore with maximum efforts that we need to curb shifts in our mood: anxiety is just the other side of ecstasy.
One must not give vent to great jubilation or to great sorrow as the changeability of all things can transfigure those at any moment.
By contrast, one must enjoy the “here and now,” possibly in a cheerful manner — this is the wisdom of life. (Die Kunst glücklich zu sein. C.H. Beck 1999, p. 56).
Schopenhauer does not deal with political treatises in his work, nor does he discuss the political sociology of the rapidly industrializing Europe, or governmental institutions of his time.
The political changes he witnessed, however dramatic they were, such as the Napoleonic wars in Europe, the rise to power of America, and the post-Napoleonic era, were of no interest to him.
Quite consistent with his misanthropic views about human nature, he stayed above the political and historical fray to the point of total disinterestedness.
Schopenhauer refuses any formula for any ontological, political, or ethical system whatsoever. Instead, he demolishes all doctrines and all systems, be they religious or political.
He resented politics, and he can be justly depicted as an “anti–intellectual” in a modern sense of the word.
For Schopenhauer, the world is fundamentally absurd, and no political philosophy can alter its absurdity.
A French theoretician of post-modernity  the philosopher Clément Rosset, is probably one of the best authors who summarized the significance of Schopenhauer for our times.

“Man has forever been successful in passing off past events for new events.
He has been thought to be able to act within free and regenerating time.
In reality, though, he has been in the arms of the cadaver.
A retrospective horror extends to his past, in which he has lived ever since, although, just like his future, that time had lapsed for good.
This time-illness, a profound source of intuition about the absence of all finality, expresses itself in the obsessive theme of repetition.” (Clément Rosset, Schopenhauer, Philosophe de l’Absurde, 1967, p. 97).

In other words, however much we may yearn to affect the flow of time, or assign it some goal or purpose, its merciless cyclical nature always bring us to further delusions and the inevitable status quo.
Nowhere is this absurd repetitive will of living visible as in man’s sexual desire – which Schopenhauer describes in his famous chapter and essay “The Metaphysics of Sex.”
Once a sexual appetite is assuaged, the will continues to manifest itself again and again in ceaseless sameness of sexual desire.
It follows from this absurd repetitiveness that the entire history of the human species is the entanglement of re-enactments.
World affairs and political decision-making are manifestations of a self-inflicted desire for something new.
Based on such perceptions of repetitive reality, Schopenhauer shows no interest in history, noting that it is always the same people who take the world stage, with the same ideas, albeit framed in a different rhetoric.
In short, his target of criticism is the philosophy of optimism, and the idea of progress which lay embedded in the eighteenth century teaching of the Enlightenment.
For Schopenhauer there is nothing new under the sun, as with every fleeting second the new becomes the old and the old becomes the new; the wheel of time turns forever.
Time for Schopenhauer is devoid of historicity, therefore, a study of some historical event, or of some political drama, is totally irrelevant.
Schopenhauer advocates the abandoning of the illusory will to create a better world..
Despite his static philosophy that rejected human and political betterment, Schopenhauer ventures often in his lengthy work into interesting and well-founded analyses, such as his brief study on the importance of heredity.
But one must be careful not to extrapolate his scattered comments on race and heredity and assume that they make up the bulk of his work.
He believed in the hereditary improvement of mankind, and some of his remarks about biological betterment are highly relevant.
Irrespective of the fact that he does not delve much into the subject of heredity, one must agree that Schopenhauer could be easily used as a weapon by modern sociobiologists or race realists.

“If we could castrate all scoundrels, and shut up all stupid geese in monasteries and give persons of noble character a whole harem and provide men, and indeed complete men, for all maidens of mind and understanding, a generation would soon arise what would produce a better age than that of Pericles” (The World as Will and Idea, p. 331, “Heredity.”)

In another context, Schopenhauer reiterated his antidemocratic-eugenic thesis:

If you want Utopian plans, I would say: the only solution to the problem is the despotism of the wise and noble members of a genuine aristocracy, a genuine nobility, achieved by mating the most magnanimous men with the cleverest and most gifted women. This proposal constitutes my Utopia and my Platonic Republic“.

Analysts have suggested that Schopenhauer’s advocacy of anti-egalitarianism and eugenics influenced the neo-aristocratic philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, who initially considered Schopenhauer his mentor.
Schopenhauer’s remarks on heredity are perfectly compatible with his teachings on the independence of the will.
Just as we can never change the predetermined nature of our genes and our genealogy, we cannot change the predetermined nature of the will:

“The only freedom that exists is of a metaphysical character. In the physical world freedom is an impossibility. .. The will itself, as something that lies beyond time, and so long as it exists at all, never changes…  Hence it is that every man achieves only that which is irrevocably established in his nature, or is born with him. (Free Will and Fatalism).

The Will vs. the Deceptive Reality

The main driving force of the entire university is the will.
Ideas, concepts and images are merely the objectification of our will at different levels of perception. 
The will is a blind force; it is subject neither to time nor to space, neither does it obey the principles of causality, nor is it subject to accidents.
In this sense Schopenhauer represents a big break with the teachings of rationalists and idealists of his time, who were enamoured with the principles of causality, and henceforth viewed necessity as a cornerstone of life on Earth.
Schopenhauer stood out as an oddity in his times which were imbued with the heritage of the Enlightenment.
The will is more important than the thought, however, at the conceptual level, as some scholars pointed out, one must carefully distinguish between the will and the instinct, as his later critical admirer and commentator, the National-Socialist Minister, Alfred Rosenberg, noted in his chapter “Will and Instinct” in his now famous book, ‘The Myth of the 20th Century’. 

“Will is always the opposite of instinct (“Trieb”), and not identical with it, as Schopenhauer seemed to teach.”

In other words contrary to Schopenhauer, Rosenberg objects that Schopenhauer uses the term “will” in an overly general manner.
Similar to Nietzsche and his followers, Rosenberg argues for the “implementation” of the free will for Promethean and political goals, while contrasting it to the primeval biological impulses which he calls the “instinct.” (Trieb).
Man is originally not a being of knowledge but a creature of instinct and will – a will that comes alive in cyclical time and in a non-linear way.
Will is the fundamental reality of the world, the ‘thing-in-itself’, and its objectification is what is visible in external phenomena, such as objects or political events that we witness daily.
In practical life the antagonism between the will and reason arises from the fact that the will is a metaphysical substance, whereas the reason is something accidental and secondary: an “appendage” to the will.
The will is an autonomous desire, that is to say, an irrational need to act or to do something.
The will is free in every single thought process and action, but it need not and generally does not follow the precepts of reason.
Unlike the majority of philosophers of his time, including Hegel, Schopenhauer does not hold reason in high regard.
Our illusions, based on self-serving perceptions, remain so entrenched despite the most sophisticated appeals to reason.
Therefore, Schopenhauer can be justly labelled as the greatest anti-rationalist philosopher of all time. Only the genius has some capacity for objectivity in so far as he can harness his will and become the pure knowing subject.
The absurdity of Schopenhauer’s “free” will is that man is enslaved by it without ever knowing its origin and reason.
Humans act but do not know why they act the way they do: apart from a few geniuses, their self perceptions are nothing more than illusions.
This leads us to a dreadful life, full of anguish on the one hand and ecstatic expectations on the other. 
The absurdity of our will is not how to reach the river and quench our thirst: the absurdity consists in the will for being thirsty !
The will has no cause and, given that it excludes causality, it does not have any necessity or purpose.
That the being is without any necessity is already a dreadful problem.
But that this very being is in addition unhappy and miserable only emphasizes the absence of a raison d’être. (Rosset, p. 16)
Schopenhauer’s theories of representation and perception can easily rank him today in the category of the founding fathers of post-modern theory of the Double and the Hyperreal.
Everything that we see is fleeting “representations” and not the actual physical phenomena.
We dream even when we are awake. 
Well, how then tell the difference between the real political truth and the fabricated political truth?
Schopenhauer is a crucial source in understanding the psychopathological impact of religions, myths and the systems of beliefs.
At times he labels them “allegories” whereas in other places he describes them as the “metaphysics of the masses” or “people’s metaphysics” (Volksmetaphysik).
Just as people have popular poetry and the popular wisdoms or proverbs, they also need popular metaphysics.
They need an interpretation of life; and this interpretation must be suited for their comprehension.
The great majority of humans have at best a weak faculty for weighing reasons and discriminating between the fact and the fiction.  Does this sound familiar?
No belief system, no ideology, no religion is immune from self-serving delusional tenets linked to false perceptions of reality, although, in due time, each of them will undergo the process of demythologization and eventually become a laughing stock for those who see the illusions underlying these delusional myths.
We can illustrate this changing masquerade of history repeating itself when observing the mindset of modern opinion makers.
People have always wished, by means of different allegories, to transcend their cursed reality and make frequent excursions into the spheres of the hyper-real  the unreal, or the surreal – in order to offset the absurdity of their existence.
It is natural that they resort to religious and ideological devices, however aberrant or criminal these allegorical devices may subsequently turn out to be.
Accordingly, the motor of religious mass mimicry, which Schopenhauer describes, is again our objectified will.
Consequently, the whole course of human life is patterned along the principle of imitation, where even the smallest thing in our perception is borrowed from that role model who is viewed now as a path-breaking innovator or a new messiah.
Mimicry is the powerful motor of the will, the theme which was later expanded by Schopenhauer’s disciples, such as Gustave Le Bon.
Intelligent individuals amidst our modern rootless masses realize that some beliefs are fraudulent and harmful, but for the sake of social conformity they accept them.
They will rather listen to others than trust their own head.
As Schopenhauer writes, the bad thing about all religions is that instead of being able to admit their allegorical nature, they conceal it.
Absurdities form an essential part of popular beliefs.
Schopenhauer’s teaching on religions, including his denunciation of the will to political power, was borrowed from the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.
He has good words for Catholicism though, which for him is a religion of pessimism (The World as Will and Idea, p. 372).
But it would be a serious error, based on a fragmentary reading of his work, to conclude that he was rejecting one religion at the expense of the other.
Although Schopenhauer may be described as an atheist or agnostic, his sense of spirituality was very strong.
Of all religions Judaism is the worst religion, notes Schopenhauer in his famous book ‘Parerga und Paralipomena’.

“The genuine religion of the Jews … is the crudest of all religions (die roheste aller Religionen.) The ongoing contempt for Jews, amidst their contemporary peoples, may have been to a large degree due to the squalid (armsälig) qualities of their religion. … In any case the essence of any religion consists, as such, in its persuasion that it provides for us, namely that our actual existence is not only limited to our life, but that it remains timeless. The appalling (erbärmlich) Jewish region does not fulfil this; indeed, it does not even try to. … Therefore, this is the crudest and the worst of all religions consisting only in an absurd and outrageous (empörend) theism. … While all other religions endeavour to explain to the people by symbols and parables the metaphysical significance of life, the religion of the Jews is entirely immanent and furnishes nothing but a mere war-cry (Kriegsgeschrei) in the struggle with other nations” (pp. 136–137).

Some of Schopenhauer’s words about the power of the blind will can easily be applied to our post-modern times – for example, how the will to believe in something has been hijacked by liberal political elites.

The Hyperreal: The Denial and its Double

We can now jump over to the 20th and 21st century and observe how Schopenhauer’s ideas provide a good fit to the mass illusions accompanying the rising tide of the democratic mystique.
How does the will objectify itself in the political arena today ?
Politicians are inclined to project their perception of the real world into its embellished Double. Example: None of us is entirely happy with his looks; no political theorist is happy with the world as it is.
We all strive to be someone else; we all wish to project either our physique or the present political order into its loftier, distant, and more romantic substitute.
As a result, the masses, but also our politicians, assess values and objective reality not as they are, but rather as they’d like to see them.
Our passionate need for a change, as a rule, results in inevitable disappointments and feelings of betrayal.
Following Schopenhauer’s logic, it is a serious error to assume that some contemporary politician is a liar or a crook just because we feel or think that we are being cheated or oppressed by him.
More likely, such wicked political leaders are themselves the victims of self-delusions.
Their manic desire for world improvement is based on honest and self-proclaimed “scientific”, “reasonable,” and “truthful” wishful thinking, which they benevolently wish to share with us or with their subjects or constituents.
To illustrate the will for self-delusion, one may observe contemporary leftists and antifascist militants within Schopenhauer’s framework of analysis.
What they say is already based on their prior self-persuasions, which are the reflections of the prevailing beliefs of their time.
Pareto, as a valiant disciple of Schopenhauer’s methods, notes that ”many people are not socialists because they have been persuaded by reasoning. Quite the contrary; these people acquiesce to such reasoning because they are (already) socialists.”
Their will, however aberrantly it may objectify itself in the ravings for some communistic mystique, defies any empirical argument.
Schopenhauer is of paramount importance in understanding our perception of postmodern reality, or our hyperreality, as some authors call it.
The surreal world of the liberal dogma – that is, the world in which we live – fits perfectly Schopenhauer’s teaching on the flawed perception of the real.
Moreover, Schopenhauer’s work is a useful tool for deciphering liberal mendacity, which has become today the cornerstone of the new world order.
The postmodern West is enveloped in the virtual reality of the electronic age (the “video sphere”) and media make-believe, which incessantly turn every real political event into a virtual image.
How does the liberal mystique or, to use Schopenhauer’s word, ‘allegory’, operate today ?
The process that started with the abstraction of the objective, as a result of the mass media, has ended now in integral reality, as the post-modern author Jean Baudrillard writes. “The virtual itself is “negationist,” or denial-prone. The virtual takes away the substance of the real. “We are living in a society of historical denial by virtue of its virtuality.”
Disbelief reigns everywhere, even if there are solid and empirical proofs of the opposite.
No longer is some historical or political event perceived as “real” or truthful.
For instance the memory of the ‘so-called’ Holocaust functions today as the largest civic religion of the West.
This idea of a Holocaust is a system of belief serving not only a commemorative goal; it is also a cognitive paradigm for interpreting all aspects of our contemporary society.
The issue, however, is no longer the body count of people who it is suggested had died; rather, the issue is the fact that the post-modern virtual world by definition minimizes or maximizes the hyperreal at the expense of the real.
This rule of the hyper-real or the double applies now to all grand narratives, especially those teeming with victimological themes.
Even honest historians or social theorists can no longer be taken as real.  Why ?
The big post-modern question will immediately start hovering over their heads: What if that person is telling the lies ? What if he does not tell the truth ?
Victimologies, and victim-hoods no longer sound persuasive as they have found their media hyper-substitutes, which either re-enact, or deactivate the real past crime.
Therefore, the modern media and politicians must make post-prophylactic political decisions in a desperate attempt to dismantle the previous real, i.e., the previous bad decision, the previous inaction by making it up to the real victim with an overkill of repenting rhetoric and post-prophylactic decision making (massive security checks at airports, always new mass commemorations, etc.).
If the lives of the masses of people who perished cannot be restored, let us restore their memory by the hyper-real media !
Why resuscitate the living, when the resuscitation of the dead is a far better business ?
One can analyse the post-modern wars, the so-called Gulf War in 1991 and the war in Bosnia in 1995 using the concepts of the hyper-real and the double.
When these wars were televised and commented on by talking heads on TV screens, their real and horrible reality was cancelled out.
Spectators were therefore much more likely to support these wars.
Neither can our history writing be a matter of academic discussion any more.
Historical narratives about real or surreal ‘fascist crimes’ or ‘White man crimes’ or the current mantra on ‘White man guilt’ have attained a grotesque level of psychological saturation, to the point that for politically conscious Whites they soon sink into oblivion – and laughter – as they are de-constructed. 
Even if some past mass crimes are empirically verifiable, the masses will start reconstructing its negative Double — after first deconstructing its Real antecedent.
The ‘Age of Post-modernity  is basically the age of deconstruction, where no single verity can hold sway for a long time.
Here is the vicious circle of the hyper-real.
If one is encouraged to de-construct the real world and denounce political beliefs as a passing allegory, as Schopenhauer did, why not de-construct new contemporary civic religions, such the monotheism of the capitalist market or the civic religion of victim-hood ?
Spectral Verities, Viral Lies

We all live the hyper-real  as the French philosopher Rosset writes; we all crave for the Double – be it in its negative or the positive form. 
We all wish to be something we are not; the duplicate of ourselves.  “In place of the world as it is, we invent a ‘duplicate’ or a ‘double,’ a parallel universe which functions as a phantom rival to the existing world.”
The disadvantage of living in the real world is that life in it is drab, frightening, or boring; the advantage of the “doubled” life lies not only in the fact that such life does not exist, but that such life doesn’t even have to exist in order for us to believe it to be true and real! In other words, this desire for a spectral world is not so much a desire for something different, as it is a desire to get rid of the real world.
Who are the new paradigms or role models of our hyper-real post-modernity ?
Once upon a time the role model for Western man was a rugged individual, a Prometheus unbound, a war hero, a conqueror.
Today the will for the hyper-real requires his double or his denial, or better yet the “doubled denial.” 
As a result, the new role models for the West are the degenerates, the retards, the ‘non-Whites’, the pederasts, the pathetic and the perverts.
Baudrillard: “The Courtier was the most remarkable figure of the aristocratic order. The Militant was the most remarkable figure of the social and revolutionary order. The Penitent is the most remarkable figure of our advanced post-modern democratic politicians.”
But these degenerate role models are in turn subject to deconstruction, especially by proud, psychologically healthy White people who are being victimized by the legitimization of these role models.
Granted, we are witnessing the end of the big narratives, such as ‘antifascist victimology’, however, the unresolved work of mourning the real (or hyper-real  victims of fascism or racism is in full swing.
In other words, the antifascist, anti-racist war (with all its political, media and legal prohibition) continues unabated.
Even if real racism and fascism are dead and gone, they need to be resurrected in a negative doubled manner in order to give the mourners an opportunity to repent for the failed duty to prevent it from happening. Never again, never again ! — this is a  new war cry of our hyperreal discourse.
This strategy of the hyper-real “never again”, is directed not only at preventing similar events from happening again in the future – as expressed in the forms of a myriad of  memorial centers commemorating the Holocaust.
It is also meant to be a tool of unravelling  in a vicarious and imaginary way, of the real past historical disaster that befell the Jews or the non-Whites.
Likewise, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are waged today as the post-prophylactic double; indeed, they are not just the wars for stopping the terror; they are the wars for removing the past sins of the political class, which led to the real terror of the dreadful 9/11 !
The goal is now to retroactively cancel out the inflicted national disgrace and humiliation of the ruling elites.
This is why the actual wars and our public discourse all over the West are “non-events”. Never again, never again!
And this is why the hyperreal or the double are pure illusions.
They cannot last.
The violent and the objective real is waiting in the wings and it will soon take the upper hand.
Is it for real ?

Fin de Siecle Art – Germany and Austria

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013


Fin de siècle is French for end of the century.


Vienna – 1900
The term typically encompasses not only the meaning of the similar English idiom ‘turn of the century’, but also both the closing and onset of an era, as it was felt to be a period of degeneration, but at the same time a period of hope for a new beginning.
The “spirit” of ‘fin de siècle’ often refers to the cultural hallmarks that were recognized as prominent in the 1880s and 1890s, including boredom, cynicism, pessimism, and a widespread belief that civilization leads to decadence.
The themes of ‘fin de siècle’ political culture were very controversial and have been cited as a major influence on Völkisch philosophy and national socialism.
The major political theme of the era was that of revolt against materialism, rationalism, positivism, bourgeois society and liberal democracy.
The ‘fin-de-siècle’ generation supported emotionalism, irrationalism, subjectivism and vitalism, while the mindset of the age saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.


‘Fin de Siecle’ in Austria

At the turn of the 20th century Vienna was one of Europe’s largest urban centers, with a population of more than two million by 1910.

By then, Vienna had been a major centre of political power and cultural patronage for centuries. Vienna was a place of tensions and paradox: Its mayor, Karl Lueger, had right-wing, anti-Semitic inclinations. 

Adolf Hitler
Theodor Herzl 

Vienna sheltered both Theodor Herzl — the founder of Zionism — as well as Adolf Hitler, the founder of National Socialism.

The city’s numerous innovative cultural and intellectual movements and figures radically changed Western culture and thought.
Viennese turn of the century culture had its roots in French decadence, and the “Dionysian” influence of two Germans – Richard Wagner and Friedrich Nietzsche.



Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony, and aphorism.
Nietzsche’s key ideas include the “death of God,” the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of “life-affirmation”, which involves questioning of all doctrines that drain life’s expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be. His influence remains substantial within philosophy, notably in existentialism, post-modernism, and post-structuralism, as well as outside it. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, especially in the continental tradition.

Nietzsche had repudiated nineteenth-century ideology, and demanded the reorganization of 
human society under the guidance of exceptional leaders.

Fin de Siecle illustration for
‘Das Rheingold


Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner answered the call, and became the archetype of ‘die neue Kunst’ – ‘the new art’ – the embodiment of the Dionysian ideal for which Nietzsche yearned.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, “music dramas”). 

Parsifal und die Blumenmädchen

Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Weber and Meyerbeer, 
Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (“total work of art”), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama, and which was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852.
 Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) and his last work – ‘Parsifal’.

Vienna, circa1900, was a vibrant centre of radical cultural and intellectual innovation, with consequences that reverberated into the twentieth century.
Vienna, in the years leading up to the First World War, was a city with an identity crisis.
It was at the crossroads of Europe and the centre of the Austro-Hungarian empire

The Austro-Hungarian Empire 1910

The Empire had been disintegrating – though few realised this slow decline – internally for many years.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Between 1880 and 1910 the population of Vienna trebled to more than two million.
Social deprivation and a desperate housing shortage were the result, with working-class unrest soon presenting a serious threat to the prosperous bourgeoisie – and it was here that the young Adolf Hitler spent his formative years.
The decorative extravagance of nineteenth-century Viennese art and architecture seemed increasingly at odds with social reality.
Ringstraße – Wien

The Ringstraße is a circular road surrounding the Innere Stadt district of Vienna, Austria. It is typical of the historical style called Ringstraßenstil (Ringstraße Style) of the 1860s to 1890s. The Ringstraße and the planned buildings were intended to be a showcase for the grandeur and glory of the Habsburg Empire. Sigmund Freud was known to take a daily recreational walk around the Ring.

One of the most popular artist in Vienna at the turn of the century was Hans Makart who exemplified the elaborate symbolism of the final years of the Empire.
Interestingly, Makart was one of young Hitler’s favourite artists.
‘Abundantia – The Gifts of the Sea’ – Hans Makart

Hans Makart (May 28, 1840 – October 3, 1884) was a 19th-century Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself and was a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with almost cult-like adulation.




‘Junge mit einer Flöte’
Hans Makart
Hans Makart

The “Makartstil”, which determined the culture of an entire era in Vienna, was an aestheticism the likes of which hadn’t been seen before him and has not been replicated to this day. Called the “magician of colors“, he painted in brilliant colors and fluid forms, which placed the design and the aesthetic of the work before all else. Often to heighten the strength of his colors he introduced asphalt into his paint, which has led to some deterioration in his paintings over the years. The paintings were usually large-scale and theatrical productions of historical motifs. Works such as The Papal Election reveal Makart’s skill in the bold use of color to convey drama as well as his later developed virtuoso draughtsmanship.
Makart was deeply interested in the interaction of all the visual arts and thus in the implementation of the idea of the “total work of art” which dominated discussions on the arts in the 19th century. This was the ideal which he realised in magnificent festivities which he organised and centred around himself. The 1879 Makart-parade was the culmination of these endeavors. Makart was also a friend of the composer Richard Wagner, and it can be argued that the two developed the same concepts and stylistic tendencies in their differing art forms: a concern for embedding motifs of history and mythology in a framework of aestheticism, making their respective works historical pageants.

Sigmund Freud

In contrast, the avant-garde culture that developed in Vienna over the first two decades of the twentieth century sought to strip away pretence and to probe beneath society’s ‘acceptable’ surface.
Ideas of supposed ‘honesty’ and ‘naturalness’ informed the architecture and theories of Adolf Loos (see below), the satirical journalism of Karl Kraus, and the paintings and graphic work of artists such as Egon Schiele and Richard Gerstl.

The development of a particularly dissonant form of Expressionism, with its emphasis on uncompromising subject matter, un-suppressed sexuality and psychological introspection, can be traced in the visual arts as well as in music, literature and the theatre, echoing the influential psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud.
Entartete Kunst

Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express meaning or emotional experience rather than physical reality.
Expressionism was developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. It remained popular during the Weimar Republic, particularly in Berlin. The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including painting, literature, theatre, dance, film, architecture and music.
Expressionism is associated with Entartete Kunst as defined in conservative cultural circles, and by Völkisch and National Socialist aesthetics.

The architecture of Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos epitomised the new spirit which sought to reduce decorative excess.
The functionalism and relative simplicity of their buildings contrasted strikingly with the highly ornamented façades of nineteenth century Vienna.
Loos’s Michaelerplatz Haus was erected opposite Emperor Franz Josef’s ornate residence. So unimpressed was the Emperor by the stark rigour of Loos’s shop building, that he is said to have closed the curtains in the Hofburg to keep it out of sight.


Michaelerplatz Haus – Adolf Loos
Adolf Loos

Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos (10 December 1870 – 23 August 1933) was an Austrian architect. He was influential in European Modern architecture, and in his essay Ornament und Verbrechen’ – (Ornament and Crime) he abandoned the aesthetic principles of the Vienna Secession. In this and many other essays he contributed to the elaboration of a body of theory and criticism later referred to as ‘Modernism’ .
Loos authored several polemical works. In ‘Gesprochene in die Leere’ – (Spoken into the Void), published in 1900, Loos attacked the Vienna Secession, at a time when the movement was at its height.
In his essays, Loos used provocative catchphrases, and has become noted for one particular essay/manifesto entitled ‘Ornament and Crime’ – 1910.

Table
Adolf Loos
Decorative Consloe
Adolf Loos

In this essay, he explored the idea that the progress of culture is associated with the deletion (?) of ornament from everyday objects, and that it was therefore a crime to force craftsmen or builders to waste their time on ornamentation that served to hasten the time when an object would become obsolete. Loos’ stripped-down buildings influenced the minimal massing of modern architecture, and stirred controversy.
Perhaps surprisingly, some of Loos’s own architectural work was elaborately decorated, although more often inside than outside, and the ornamented interiors frequently featured abstract planes and shapes composed of richly figured materials, such as marble and exotic woods. The visual distinction is not between complicated and simple, but between “organic” and superfluous decoration.
Loos was also interested in the decorative arts, collecting sterling silver and high quality leather goods, which he noted for their plain yet luxurious appeal. He also enjoyed fashion and men’s clothing, designing the famed Kníže of Vienna, a haberdashery.

Ludwig Wittgenstein
Haus Wittgenstein

Perhaps the most extreme example of this stripped-down approach was the house designed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1929, but informed by ideas developed before the war.

The source of Viennese artistic culture is to be found in the Vienna Secession.

Haus Wittgenstein is a house in the modernist style designed and built on the Kundmanngasse, Vienna, by the Austrian architect Paul Engelmann and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Wittgenstein and Hitler

In November 1925, Wittgenstein’s sister Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein commissioned Engelmann to design and build a large townhouse. Engelmann designed a spare modernist house after the style of Adolf Loos: three rectangular blocks. Wittgenstein showed a great interest in the project and in Engelmann’s plans, and poured himself into the project for over two years. He focused on the windows, doors, door knobs, and radiators, demanding that every detail be exactly as he specified.
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. Witgenstein, as a boy, went to school with Adolf Hitler – who was also interested in architecture.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
WIENER SEZESSION
The Vienna Secession (also known as the ‘Vereinigung Bildender Künstler Österreichs’ – Union of Austrian Artists) was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus.
This movement included painters, sculptors, and architects.
The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt, and Rudolf von Alt was made honorary president.

Rudolf Ritter von Alt
Der Stephansdom vom Stock im Eisenplatz
Rudolf Ritter von Alt

Rudolf Ritter von Alt (28 August 1812 in Vienna – 12 March 1905 in Vienna) was an Austrian landscape and architectural painter. Born as Rudolf Alt, he could call himself von Alt and bear the title of a Ritter after he gained nobility in 1889.
He was the son of the famous lithographer Jakob Alt (1789–1872). He studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. Hiking-trips through the Austrian Alps and northern Italy awoke a love for landscapes, and he painted with his brush using watercolors in a very realistic and detailed style. In 1833, inspired by a visit to Venice and neighbouring cities, he also made a number of architectural paintings.

Ver Sacrum

Its official magazine was called “Ver Sacrum”.

Ver Sacrum (“Sacred Spring” in Latin) was the official magazine of the Vienna Secession. Published from 1898 to 1903, it featured drawings and designs in the Jugendstil style along with literary contributions from distinguished writers from across Europe. These included Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Maurice Maeterlinck, Knut Hamsun, Otto Julius Bierbaum, Richard Dehmel, Ricarda Huch, Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Josef Maria Auchentaller and Arno Holz.

The Vienna Secession was founded by Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, and others.

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d’art. Klimt’s primary subject was the female body; his works are marked by a frank eroticism.

Pallas Athena – Gustav Klimt

He remained with the Secession until 1908. The group declared no manifesto and did not set out to encourage any particular style—Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists all coexisted. The government supported their efforts and gave them a lease on public land to erect an exhibition hall. The group’s symbol was Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of just causes, wisdom, and the arts—of whom Klimt painted his radical version in 1898.

In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to create three paintings to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna. Not completed until the turn of the century, his three paintings, Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence were criticized for their radical themes and material.

Allegory of Sculpture – Gustav Klimpt

Klimt had transformed traditional allegory and symbolism into a new language that was more overtly sexual and hence more disturbing to some. The public outcry came from all quarters—political, aesthetic and religious. As a result, the paintings were not displayed on the ceiling of the Great Hall. This would be the last public commission accepted by the artist.

His ‘Nuda Veritas’ (1899) defined his bid to further “shake up” the establishment. The starkly naked red-headed woman holds the mirror of truth, while above her is a quotation by Friedrich Schiller in stylized lettering, “If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, please only a few. To please many is bad.”
In 1902, Klimt finished the Beethoven Frieze for the Fourteenth Vienna Secessionist exhibition, which was intended to be a celebration of the composer and featured a monumental polychrome sculpture by Max Klinger. Intended for the exhibition only, the frieze was painted directly on the walls with light materials. After the exhibition the painting was preserved. The face on the Beethoven portrait resembled the composer and Vienna Court Opera director Gustav Mahler, with whom Klimt had a respectful relationship.


Otto Wagner
Although Otto Wagner is widely recognised as an important member of the Vienna Secession he was not a founding member.

Otto Koloman Wagner (* July 13 1841 in Penzing in Vienna , † 11 April 1918 in Vienna 7 ) was the most important Austrian architect , architectural theorist and urban planner Vienna in the Belle Epoque or at the fin de siècle. His Art Nouveau , his academic work and his writings on urban planning in the 1890s helped him to worldwide recognition.

Beethoven – Max Klinger

The Secession artists objected to the prevailing conservatism of the Vienna Künstlerhaus, with its traditional orientation toward Historicism.

The Berlin and Munich Secession movements preceded the Vienna Secession, which held its first exhibition in 1898.
The 14th Secession exhibition, designed by Josef Hoffmann and dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, was especially famous.

Beethoven Frieze – Gustav Klimpt
A statue of Beethoven by Max Klinger stood at the center, with Klimt’s Beethoven frieze mounted around it.

Max Klinger (February 18, 1857 – July 5, 1920) was a German Symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer.
Klinger was born in Leipzig and studied in Karlsruhe. An admirer of the etchings of Menzel and Goya, he shortly became a skilled and imaginative engraver in his own right. He began creating sculptures in the early 1880s. From 1883-1893 he lived in Rome, and became increasingly influenced by the Italian Renaissance and antiquity. Klinger was cited by many as being a major link between the Symbolist movement of the 19th century and the start of the metaphysical and Surrealist movements of the 20th century.

In 1903, Hoffmann and Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte as a fine-arts society with the goal of reforming the applied arts (arts and crafts).
On 14 June 1905 Gustav Klimt and other artists seceded from the Vienna Secession due to differences of opinion over artistic concepts.
Vienna Secession Building
 Joseph Maria Olbrich

The Vienna Secession building, was built in 1898 by Joseph Maria Olbrich, in the Jugendstil style as a showcase for the Secession movement’s artists .
The building has been adapted and renovated several times:

Vienna Secession Building
Joseph Maria Olbrich

The entrance hall was altered in 1901. In 1908, part of the ornamentation and the slogan “Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit” (“For every time its art. For art its Freedom”) were removed. 
Its best-known exhibit is Gustav Klimt famous Beethoven Frieze – a monumetal wall cycle – designed in 1902.
This exhibition, conceived as an homage to the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, most sublimely embodied the secessionist idea of the gesamtkunstwerk – a comprehensive work of art.

Haus Feinhals – Marienburg – Joseph Olbrich
Joseph Maria Olbrich

Joseph Maria Olbrich (22 December 1867 – 8 August 1908) was an Austrian architect and co-founder of the Vienna Secession.
Olbrich was born in Opava, Austrian Silesia. He was the third child of Edmund and Aloisia Olbrich.
Olbrich studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Wiener Staatsgewerbeschule) and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where he won several prizes.

Ernst Ludwig House – Darmstadt –  Joseph Maria Olbrich

In 1893, he started working for Otto Wagner, the Austrian architect, and probably did the detailed construction for most of Wagner’s Wiener Stadtbahn  buildings.
In 1897, Gustav Klimt, Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser founded the Vienna Secession artistic group. Olbrich designed their exhibition building, the famous Secession Hall, which became the movement’s landmark. 
Olbrich executed diverse architectural commissions and experimented in applied arts and design. He designed pottery, furniture, book bindings, and musical instruments. His architectural works, especially his exhibition buildings for the Vienna and Darmstadt Secessions, had a strong influence on the development of the Art Nouveau style.
Olbrich died from leukemia in Düsseldorf on August 8, aged 40.

Paul Bürck – Male Nude
Paul Bürck – Mythological Scene

The Ernst Ludwig House – The laying of the foundation stone took place on the 24th of March 1900. The atelier was both a worksite and the venue for gatherings in the artists’ colony. In the middle of the main floor is the meeting room with paintings by Paul Bürck and there are three artist studios to each side of it. There are two underground artists’ apartments and underground rooms for business purposes. The entrance is located in a niche that is decorated with gold-plated flower motifs. Two six-metre tall statues, “Man and Woman” or “Strength and Beauty”, flank the entrance and are the work of Ludwig Habich. 

‘Betender Knabe’
Ludwig Habich
‘Grabenkmal as einer Gafallen’
Ludwig Habich


Paul Wilhelm Bürck (* September 3rd 1878 in Strasbourg , † April 18 1947 in Munich ) was a German painter, graphic artist and textile designer and worked as a member of the Darmstadt artists’ colony on the Mathildenhoehe.

Ludwig Habich (* April 2 1872 in Darmstadt , † January 20th 1949 in Jugenheim ) was a German sculptor and medalist .Habich created sculptures for Darmstadt, including the colossal figures of a man and a woman at the entrance to the Ernst-Ludwig House.

Secession Style
Unlike other movements, there is not one style that unites the work of all artists who were part of the Vienna Secession.

xiii secession – 1902 
“Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit.” 

The Secession building could be considered the icon of the movement.

Above its entrance was placed the phrase “Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit.” (“To every age its art. To art its freedom.”).
Secession artists were concerned, above all else, with exploring the possibilities of art outside the confines of the traditions of the time.
They hoped to create a new style that owed less to historical influence.
In this way they were very much in keeping with the spirit of turn-of-the-century Vienna (the time and place that also saw the publication of Freud’s first writings).
The Secessionist style was exhibited in a magazine that the group produced, called Ver Sacrum, which featured highly decorative works representative of the period.
Architecture

Along with painters and sculptors, there were several prominent architects who became associated with The Vienna Secession.
During this time, architects focused on bringing more simplified geometric forms into the designs of their buildings.
The three main architects of this movement were Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, and Otto Wagner.
Karlsplatz Stadtbahn – Otto Wagner

Secessionist architects often decorated the surface of their buildings with linear ornamentation.

In 1898, the group’s exhibition house was built in the vicinity of Karlsplatz.
Designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich, the exhibition building soon became known simply as ‘die Sezession’.
This building became an icon of the movement.
The secession building displayed art from several other influential artists such as Max Klinger, Eugene Grasset, and Arnold Bocklin.



‘Der Arbend ‘ 1882 – Max Klinger
‘Triton und Nereide’ – Max Klinger

Max Klinger (February 18, 1857 – July 5, 1920) was a German Symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer. Klinger was born in Leipzig and studied in Karlsruhe. An admirer of the etchings of Menzel, he shortly became a skilled and imaginative engraver in his own right. He began creating sculptures in the early 1880s. From 1883-1893 he lived in Rome, and became increasingly influenced by the Italian Renaissance and antiquity. 
Klinger traveled extensively around the art centres of Europe for years before returning to Leipzig in 1893. From 1897 he mostly concentrated on sculpture; his marble statue of Beethoven was an integral part of the Vienna Secession exhibit of 1902. (see ‘GALLERY’ below for more of Klinger’s works)

‘Die Toteninsel’ – Arnold Böcklin

Arnold Böcklin (16 October 1827 – 16 January 1901) was a symbolist painter, and one of Adolf Hitler’s favourite artists.
Influenced by Romanticism his painting is symbolist with mythological subjects often overlapping with the English Pre-Raphaelites.

Selbstporträt mit fiedelndem Tod
Arnold Böcklin

His pictures portray mythological, fantastical figures along classical architecture constructions (often revealing an obsession with death) creating a strange, fantasy world.
Böcklin is best known for his five versions (painted in 1880-1886) of ‘ Die Toteninsel’ (Isle of the Dead).
In 1933, the painting was put up for sale, and a noted Böcklin admirer, Adolf Hitler, acquired it. He hung it first at the Berghof in Obersalzberg and, then after 1940, in the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin.
Böcklin’s work is one of the most consummate expressions of all that was later disliked about the latter half of the nineteenth century.
(see ‘GALLERY’ below for more of Böcklin’s works)

Otto Wagner’s Majolika Haus in Vienna (c. 1898) is a significant example of the Austrian use of line.

Majolikahaus – Otto Wagner

The so-called Majolica in the left Vienna Line 40 was built in 1898. The facade is decorated with glazed majolica tiles of the company Wienerberger dressed, decorated with floral motifs. These ceramic tiles are weather resistant, easy to clean and washable – for Otto Wagner hygiene was an important part of modernity.  .

Other significant works of Otto Wagner include ‘The Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station’ in Vienna (1900), and the less successful ‘Austrian Postal Savings Bank’ (‘Österreichische Postsparkasse’) in Vienna (1904–1906).
Wagner’s way of modifying Art Nouveau decoration in a classical manner did not find favour with some of his pupils who broke away to form the Secessionists.
One was Josef Hoffmann who left to form the ‘Wiener Werkstätte’, an Austrian equivalent of the Arts and Crafts movement.
A good example of his work is the ‘Stoclet Palace’ in Brussels (1905).



Wiener Werkstätte

Wiener Werkstätte

Established in 1903, the Wiener Werkstätte was a production community of visual artists in Vienna, Austria bringing together architects, artists and designers.

The enterprise evolved from the Vienna Secession, founded in 1897 as a progressive alliance of artists and designers (see above).

From the start, the Secession had placed special emphasis on the applied arts, and its 1900 exhibition surveying the work of contemporary European design workshops prompted the young architect Josef Hoffmann and his artist friend Koloman Moser to consider establishing a similar enterprise.

Finally in 1903, with backing from the industrialist Fritz Wärndorfer, the Wiener Werkstätte began operations in three small rooms; it soon expanded to fill a three-story building with separate, specially designed facilities for metalwork, leatherwork, bookbinding, woodworking and a paint shop.

Josef Hoffmann – Chair
Moser – Zebra Cabinet – 1904 

The range of product lines also included; leather goods, enamel, jewellery, postcards and ceramics. The Wiener Werkstätte even had a millinery department.

Most of the objects produced in the Wiener Werkstatte were stamped with a number of different marks; the trademark of the Wiener Werkstatte, the monogram of the designer and that of the craftsman, who created it.
The Wiener Werkstatte had about 100 employees in 1905, of whom 37 were masters of their trade.
The seat of the venture was in Neustiftgasse 32-34, where a new building was adapted to their requirements.
Eventually the project exhausted Wärndorfer’s fortune.
The circle of customers of the Wiener Werkstatte and Josef Hoffmann mainly consisted of artists and upper middle class supporters of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Palais Stoclet – Josef Hoffmann

Several branches of the workshop were opened in Karlsbad 1909, Marienbad, Zürich 1916/17, New York 1922, Berlin 1929.

In architectural commissions such as the Purkersdorf Sanatorium and the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, the Wiener Werkstätte was able to realize its ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork), a coordinated environment in which everything down to the last detail was consciously designed as an integral part of the whole project.

The Stoclet Palace (French: Palais Stoclet, Dutch: Stocletpaleis) is a private mansion built by architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 in Brussels, Belgium, for banker and art lover Adolphe Stoclet. Considered Hoffman’s masterpiece, the Stoclet’s house is one of the most refined and luxurious private houses of the twentieth century.

For several years, beginning in 1904, the Wiener Werkstätte had its own carpentry workshop. Josef Hoffmann designed a furniture line noted for its simple forms for the firm of Jacob & Josef Kohn. But only few pieces of furniture were made there.

Josef Hoffmann
Sessel Kubus – Josef Hoffmann

Josef Hoffmann (December 15, 1870 – May 7, 1956) was an Austrian architect and designer of consumer goods. Together with Joseph Maria Olbrich they founded the Vienna Secession in 1897 along with artists Gustav Klimt, and Koloman Moser.
Beginning in 1899, he taught at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. With the Secession, Hoffmann developed strong connections with other artists. He designed installation spaces for Secession exhibitions and a house for Moser which was built from 1901-1903. However, he soon left the Secession in 1905 along with other stylist artists due to conflicts with realist naturalists over differences in artistic vision and disagreement over the premise of Gesamtkunstwerk. With the banker Fritz Wärndorfer and the artist Koloman Moser he established the Wiener Werkstätte, which was to last until 1932. He designed many products for the Wiener Werkstätte.

Kolo Moser – ‘Selbstbildnis’
‘Allegorie des Frühlings’
Koloman Moser

Koloman Moser (March 30, 1868 – October 18, 1918) was an Austrian artist who exerted considerable influence on twentieth-century graphic art, and one of the foremost artists of the Vienna Secession movement and a co-founder of Wiener Werkstätte.

During his life, Moser designed a wide array of art works – books and graphic works from postage stamps to magazine vignettes; fashion; stained glass windows, porcelains and ceramics, blown glass, tableware, silver, jewelry, and furniture – to name a few of his interests.

Most of the furniture known as Wiener Werkstätte Furniture were made by cabinet-makers as: Portois & Fix, Johann Soulek, Anton Herrgesell, Anton Pospisil, Friedrich Otto Schmidt and Johann Niedermoser.
Some historians now believe that there are no existing original products of the Wiener Werkstätte Furniture division.
From 1905, the Wiener Werkstatte produced hand-painted and printed silks.
The Backhausen firm was responsible for the machine-printed and woven textiles.
In 1907, the Wiener Werkstätte took over distribution for the Wiener Keramik, a ceramics workshop headed by Michael Powolny and Berthold Löffler.
And in the same year Moser, embittered by the financial squabbling, left the Wiener Werkstätte, which subsequently entered a new phase, both stylistically and economically.

‘Fin de Siecle’ in Germany

Berlin 1900

By the turn of the century, Berlin had become an industrial city with 800,000 inhabitants.
Improvements to the infrastructure were needed; in 1896 the construction of the subway (U-Bahn) began and was completed in 1902.
The neighborhoods around the city center (including Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Wedding) were filled with tenement blocks.

‘Schauspielhaus’ – Berlin

The surroundings saw extensive development of industrial areas East of Berlin and wealthy residential areas in the South-West.

In terms of high culture, museums were being built and enlarged, and Berlin was on the verge of becoming a major musical city.
Berlin dominated the German theater scene, with the government-supported Opernhaus and Schauspielhaus, as well as numerous private playhouses included the Lessing and the Deutsches theatres.

Berliner Secession

‘Verein Berliner Künstler’

The Berlin Secession was an art association founded by Berlin artists in 1898 as an alternative to the conservative state-run ‘Verein Berliner Künstler’ (Association of Berlin Artists).
That year the official salon jury rejected a landscape by Walter Leistikow, who was a key figure among a group of young artists interested in modern developments in art.
Sixty-five young artists formed the initial membership of the Secession.
Max Liebermann was the Berlin Secession’s first president, and he proposed to the Secession that Paul Cassirer and his cousin Bruno act as business managers.

‘Im Schwimmbad’ – Max Liebermann

Max Liebermann (July 20, 1847 – February 8, 1935) was a German painter and printmaker, and one of the leading proponents of Impressionism in Germany.
He used his own inherited wealth to assemble an impressive collection of French Impressionist works. He later chose scenes of the bourgeoisie, as well as aspects of his garden near Lake Wannsee, as motifs for his paintings. In Berlin, he became a famous painter of portraits; his work is especially close in spirit to Édouard Manet.
From 1899 to 1911 he led the premier avant-garde formation in Germany, the Berlin Secession. Beginning in 1920 he was president of the Prussian Academy of Arts..
Together with Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt, Liebermann became an exponent of German Impressionism.

In 1901 Bruno Cassirer resigned from the Secession, so that he could dedicate himself entirely to the Cassirer publishing firm.
Paul took over the running of the Cassirer gallery, and supported various Secessionist artists including the sculptors Ernst Barlach and August Gaul.
Notable members of the Secession included: Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth, Lyonel Feininger, Georg Kolbe, Käthe Kollwitz, Julie Wolfthorn, Hermann Struck, Adolf Eduard Herstein, Ludwig Dettmann and Max Slevogt

Selbstporträt – Lovis Corinth
‘Gekreuzigt Dieb’
Lovis Corinth

Lovis Corinth (21 July 1858 – 17 July 1925) was a German painter and printmaker whose mature work realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism.
Corinth studied in Paris and Munich, joined the Berlin Secession group, later succeeding Max Liebermann as the group’s president.
His early work was naturalistic in approach. Corinth was initially antagonistic towards the expressionist movement, but after 1911 his style loosened and took on many expressionistic qualities.
His use of color became more vibrant, and he created portraits and landscapes of extraordinary vitality and power. Corinth’s subject matter also included nudes and biblical scenes.



Münchner Secession
Franz Ritter von Stuck
Glaspalast – München
Berlin, however was a relative newcomer to the cultural and artistic scene (Kunst-und Kulturszene) – Munich had long been Germany’s artistic capital.

The Münchner Sezession grew out of a dispute between the Munich ‘Künstlergenossenschaft’ with the ‘Allgemeine Deutsche Kunstgenossenschaft’ in 1893.
The  Münchner Sezession is the earliest schism of a group of artists in protest against an existing artists’ association, but other Secessions followed in Vienna, Berlin (see above).


Münchner Sezession

The first  Münchner Sezession catalogue was issued on 15 July 1893.
At that time some Berlin artists, both sculptors and painters, belonged to the  Münchner Sezession  out of which the Berliner Secession would grow in 1899.
Like the Wiener and Berliner Secessions, the Münchner Secession embraced all the various art forms,including fine art (painting and sculpture), architecture, graphic art, and industrial art (furniture, interior decoration etc.)
Prominent German artists included Paul Hoecker (1854-1910), Leopold von Kalckreuth (1855-1928), Christian Landenberger (1862-1927), Max Liebermann (1847-1935), Hans Olde (1855-1917), Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) and the architect Peter Behrens (1868-1940).

Possibly the most well known of these artists at the turn of the century was Franz Stuck – also one of Adolf Hitler’s favourite artists, and in 1892 Stuck co-founded the Münchner Sezession.

Villa Stuck – München – 1897-98
Franz Stuck (February 24, 1863 – August 30, 1928), ennobled as Franz Ritter von Stuck in 1906, was a German symbolist/Art Nouveau painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect.
Stuck was born at Tettenweis, in Bavaria. To begin his artistic education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.
In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise.
In 1897 began work designing his own residence and studio, the Villa Stuck. His designs for the villa included everything from layout to interior decorations and furniture.
Stuck’s subject matter was primarily from mythology, inspired by the work of Arnold Böcklin. Large forms dominate most of his paintings and indicate his proclivities for sculpture. His seductive female nudes are a prime example of popular Symbolist content. Stuck paid much attention to the frames for his paintings and generally designed them himself with such careful use of panels, gilt carving and inscriptions that the frames must be considered as an integral part of the overall piece.
One of Stuck’s best-known paintings The Wild Chase depicts Wotan (Odin) on horseback leading a procession of the dead. It was completed about 1889, the year of Hitler’s birth, and it has acquired a kind of semi-legendary status as the face of Wotan in the painting greatly resembles Hitler’s.

Peter Behrens
AEG Turbine Factory – Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens (14 April 1868 – 27 February 1940) was a German architect and designer. He was important for the modernist movement.
He was one of the leaders of architectural change at the turn of the century and was a major designer of factories and office buildings in brick, steel and glass.





AEG Poster

In 1903, Behrens was named director of the Kunstgewerbeschule in Düsseldorf, where he implemented reforms. In 1907, Behrens and ten other people (Hermann Muthesius, Theodor Fischer, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Bruno Paul, Richard Riemerschmid, Fritz Schumacher, among others), plus twelve companies, gathered to create the Deutscher Werkbund  As an organization, it was clearly indebted to the principles and priorities of the Arts and Crafts movement, but with a decidedly modern twist. Members of the Werkbund were focused on improving the overall level of taste in Germany by improving the design of everyday objects and products. This very practical aspect made it an extremely influential organization among industrialists, public policy experts, designers, investors, critics and academics. Behrens’ work for AEG was the first large-scale demonstration of the viability and vitality of the Werkbund’s initiatives and objectives.



Deutscher Werkbund


Hermann Muthesius
Deutscher Werkbund

The Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation) was a German association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists.

The Werkbund was to become an important event in the development of modern architecture and industrial design..
Its initial purpose was to establish a partnership of product manufacturers with design professionals to improve the competitiveness of German companies in global markets.
The Werkbund was less an artistic movement than a state-sponsored effort to integrate traditional crafts and industrial mass-production techniques, to put Germany on a competitive footing with England and the United States.
Its motto ‘Vom Sofakissen zum Städtebau’ (from sofa cushions to city-building) indicates its range of interest.


‘Festspielhaus Hellerau’ – Dresden – Heinrich Tessenow
Heinrich Tessenow
The Werkbund was founded in 1907 in Munich at the instigation of Hermann Muthesius, and existed until 1934.
The organization originally included twelve architects and twelve business firms.
The architects include Peter Behrens, Theodor Fischer (who served as its first president), Josef Hoffmann, Bruno Paul, and Richard Riemerschmid.
Another highly influential architect affiliated with the project was Heinrich Tessenow – who taught Albert Speer.

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FIN DE SIECLE ÖSTERREICHISCHE KUNST
‘Die Niljagd der Kleopatra’ – ‘Cleopatra’s Nile Hunt’
Hans Markart 
‘Der Tod Der Kleopatra’ – ‘The Death of Cleopatra’
Hans Markart 
‘Abundantia’ – ‘Die Gaben der Erde’
Hans Makart 

‘Das Urteil des Paris’
Anselm Feuerbach

‘Ein Wiederfinder’
Eduard Veith
Eduard Veith (born March 30 1858 in Neutitschein , crown land Moravia , † March 18 1925 in Vienna ) was an Austrian landscape – genre – and portrait painter .
Eduard Veith, the carpenter’s son Julius Veith (1820-1887) and Susanna, born Grinding (1827-1883), was a pupil of Ferdinand Laufberger at the Imperial School of Applied Arts of the Imperial Austrian Museum for Art and Industry and received his education in Paris from . Study tours took him to Italy , Belgium and Tunis .

‘Die Seelen am Acheron’
Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl

‘Ahasver am Ende der Welt’
Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl

Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (1860–1933) was an Austro-Hungarian artist known for historical and mythological painting, particularly of subjects pertaining to ancient Rome.
Although he was one of the most successful artists of fin-de-siècle Vienna, these circumstances, along with the rise of Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secessionists, put his reputation in eclipse.
Hirémy-Hirschl was born in Timișoara, at that time a part of Hungary, but at an early age went to Vienna to study. He received a scholarship to attend the Akademie der bildenden Künste in 1878.
He won his first prize two years later with ‘Farewell: Scene from Hannibal Crossing the Alps’, followed in 1882 by a prize that allowed him to travel to Rome.
His time in Rome was a major influence on his choice of subject matter.
After returning to Vienna, he produced the acclaimed large-scale canvas ‘The Plague in Rome’ (1884), a work that is now lost.
He enjoyed a successful career with numerous commissions and high praise for his historical and allegorical works, culminating in the Imperial Prize in 1891.
In 1904, seventy of his works were exhibited at a retrospective.
He was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca in 1911.

‘Idylle’
Gustav Klimpt 

WIENER SEZESSION KUNST
‘Hygieia – Allegorie der Medizin’
Gustav Klimpt 
Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d’art. Klimt’s primary subject was the female body; his works are marked by a frank eroticism.
He remained with the Secession until 1908. The group declared no manifesto and did not set out to encourage any particular style—Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists all coexisted. 


‘Der Kuss’ – ‘The Kiss’
Gustav Klimpt

‘Am Teich’
Alexander Rothaug (1870 – 1946)
Alexander Rothaug (1870 Vienna – 1946 Vienna) was a very well known Austrian painter, stage designer, illustrator and graphic artist who was active during the late 19th – early 20th century.
In 1885-1892 he studied at the Vienna Academy and later in Munich. Rothaug began exhibiting around the year 1900 in Munich where he worked for a few years as an illustrator of the magazine “Fliegende Blaetter”.
In ca. 1910 he moved back to Vienna.
Rothaug was strongly influenced by the works of Franz von Stuck.


Artemis
Alexander Rothaug (1870 – 1946)
‘Die Walkure’
Alexander Rothaug (1870 – 1946)
‘Europa und der Stier’
Alexander Rothaug (1870 – 1946)

‘Die Abscheidung’ – (1874)
Arnold Böcklin – (1827–1901)
Arnold Böcklin (16 October 1827 – 16 January 1901) was a symbolist painter, and one of Adolf Hitler’s favourite artists.
Influenced by Romanticism his painting is symbolist with mythological subjects often overlapping with the English Pre-Raphaelites.
His pictures portray mythological, fantastical figures along classical architecture constructions (often revealing an obsession with death) creating a strange, fantasy world.
Böcklin is best known for his five versions (painted in 1880-1886) of ‘ Die Toteninsel’ (Isle of the Dead).
In 1933, the painting was put up for sale, and a noted Böcklin admirer, Adolf Hitler, acquired it. He hung it first at the Berghof in Obersalzberg and, then after 1940, in the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin.
Böcklin’s work is one of the most consummate expressions of all that was later disliked about the latter half of the nineteenth century.

‘Medussa’
Arnold Böcklin – (1827–1901)

‘Die Klagelieder der Maria Magdalena auf dem Körper des Christus’

Arnold Böcklin – (1827–1901)

‘Amaryllis’
Arnold Böcklin – (1827–1901)
‘Tod von Caesar’
Max Klinger
Max Klinger (February 18, 1857 – July 5, 1920) was a German Symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer.
Klinger was born in Leipzig and studied in Karlsruhe.
An admirer of the etchings of Menzel, he shortly became a skilled and imaginative engraver in his own right.
He began creating sculptures in the early 1880s.
From 1883-1893 he lived in Rome, and became increasingly influenced by the Italian Renaissance and antiquity.
Klinger traveled extensively around the art centres of Europe for years before returning to Leipzig in 1893. From 1897 he mostly concentrated on sculpture; his marble statue of Beethoven was an integral part of the Vienna Secession exhibit of 1902
‘Das Urteil des Paris’
Max Klinger
‘Venus in der Muschel Warenkorb’
Max Klinger

‘Die Götter in der Brandung’
Max Klinger

MÜNCHNER SECESSION

‘Amor’
Franz Ritter von Stuck
Franz Stuck (February 24, 1863 – August 30, 1928), ennobled as Franz Ritter von Stuck in 1906, was a German symbolist/Art Nouveau painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect.
Stuck was born at Tettenweis, in Bavaria.
To begin his artistic education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.
In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise.
In 1897 began work designing his own residence and studio, the Villa Stuck. His designs for the villa included everything from layout to interior decorations and furniture.
Stuck’s subject matter was primarily from mythology, inspired by the work of Arnold Böcklin. Large forms dominate most of his paintings and indicate his proclivities for sculpture.
His seductive female nudes are a prime example of popular Symbolist content.
Stuck paid much attention to the frames for his paintings and generally designed them himself with such careful use of panels, gilt carving and inscriptions that the frames must be considered as an integral part of the overall piece.
One of Stuck’s best-known paintings ‘Der Wilde Jagd‘ (The Wild Chase) depicts Wotan (Odin) on horseback leading a procession of the dead.
It was completed about 1889, the year of Hitler’s birth, and it has acquired a kind of semi-legendary status as the face of Wotan in the painting greatly resembles that of Adolf Hitler.

‘Nackte Junge mit einem Schwert’
Franz Ritter von Stuck
‘Kämpfe Amazone’
Franz Ritter von Stuck
‘Reitende Amazone’
Franz Ritter von Stuck
‘Die Sünde’
Franz Ritter von Stuck
‘Der Geist des Sieges’
Franz Ritter von Stuck
‘Kreuzigung’
Franz Ritter von Stuck

Studie zum Kreuzigung
Franz Ritter von Stuck
‘Pieta’
Franz Ritter von Stuck
‘Pallas Athene’ – 1898
Franz von Stuck
‘Der Wilde Jagd’
Franz von Stuck
One of Stuck’s best-known paintings ‘Der Wilde Jagd’ (The Wild Chase) depicts Wotan (Odin) on horseback leading a procession of the dead.
It was completed about 1889, the year of Hitler’s birth, and it has acquired a kind of semi-legendary status as the face of Wotan in the painting greatly resembles that of Adolf Hitler.
‘Medusa’ – 1892
Franz Ritter von Stuck
Painted in 1892, Von Stuck’s ‘Medusa’ arrests the viewer at first gaze.
Writhing, sinuous snakes crown the Gorgon while she stares out at the world with mesmerizing eyes.
Limpid and reflective, her irises are set within a feminine visage.
Von Stuck focused the viewer’s attention to the eyes in order to convey the petrifying power behind them. August Kubizek related in his memoirs, Adolf Hitler, ‘Mein Jugendfreund’, that he had visited a gallery with the young Adolf Hitler.
The future Führer of the Third Reich gazed at Von Stuck’s Medusa and suddenly exclaimed, “Those eyes, Kubizek ! Those were my mother’s eyes”.
The similarity is remarkable when one views a photograph of Klara Hitler.
Von Stuck’s oneiric visions were both extraordinary and prescient.
Klara Hitler
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