Architecture as a Synthesis of all Art Forms

Excerpts from the book “Art in Dialogue with Nature”

When Antoni Gaudí took over as main architect of the Sagrada Familia in 1883, his feelings towards Christianity– not unlike those of Daniel Defoe’s fictional hero Robinson Crusoe – were rather ambiguous. His scepticism notwithstanding, he went on to create the monumental stone bible that is now a staple landmark of Barcelona. Inspired by his dedicated study of liturgy and the spiritual dialogue between art and nature, Gaudi finally found his faith as an architect. Similarly, Robinson on his lonely island developed a relationship with God through his conversations with nature.

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St. Francis – and Animals in Art History

Excerpts from the book “Animal Worlds of Art”

St. Francis of Assisi’s considerable impact on art and poetry cannot be questioned. His deeply felt connection with nature exerts a special pull on free-thinking people and functions as a bulwark against irrational zeitgeist and cultural decline.

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A Modern Odysseus on the Trail of Homer’s Epics

Excerpts from the book “Odyssey of Life – Homage to Homer”

This book was conceived and planned in early 2021 out of enthusiasm for the art and culture of ancient Greece. Homer has inspired both archeologists and artists from antiquity to the present day. Today, the hill of Hisarlik in western Turkey is considered the actual site of the city of Troy described in his epics. It was the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822 – 1890) who finally discovered it, even though he initially took a wrong turn, accidentally destroying part of the place he longed so much to discover. To honor the English archeologist Frank Calvert, the monument of the Trojan Horse was erected at the former site of the British consulate. With a clever move, Schliemann got Calvert to hand over his excavation plans to him.

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Like a Fairy Tale without a Happy Ending

Excerpts from the book “Fairytale Art for Mozart”

Apparently, Mozart’s pet songbird could whistle a few bars of his piano concert in G major (K. 453). Did Mozart live in a magic world we love to hear stories about, even if we find them unbelievable? The prelude to his marriage, too, resembles a love story with obstacles the couple had to overcome to be united. Father Leopold was exasperated when Mozart decided to leave Salzburg and embark on the insecure life of a freelancer. Also, he did not approve of his son’s wife Constanze. Maybe this was why Wolfgang hardly mentioned his father’s passing in 1787, while dedicating a long obituary to his “star songbird”, which died around the same time. If we try to judge Mozart’s life in the simplistic terms of fairy tales, based on our conventional ideas of “good” and “bad”, we inevitably encounter contradictions. Like many fairy tales, the “Magic Flute” has two parts. Its heroes wear fantastic feathered costumes and face difficulties they have to overcome or be saved from. Finally, the objects of their longing are manifested in a happy ending. In fairy tales, too, paradoxes are so common they hardly even appear as such. Clearly divided into good and bad at first, in the second part, the world of “The Magic Flute” suddenly turns upside down. Who is good, and who is bad now? Maybe, this was the reason the first performance conducted by Mozart himself was not a great success. The brilliant melodies and fairy tale imagery, however, were as memorable then as they are today. Like the artworks and poems in this book, fairy tales are marked by stylistic integrity and poetic effect. Time and again, “The Magic Flute” has inspired visual artists like Oskar Kokoschka or Karl Friedrich Schinkel with his 12 orientally inspired stage sets.

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Living with pictures

Excerpt from the book “Art Retreat 2020-21 – Living with pictures”

Collect, arrange and enjoy art

There are many reasons to collect art: prestige, value and appreciation of the artist’s reputation may play a role for one collector, a personal relationship with the artist, the joy of collecting or the responsibility for art and its promotion for another. In addition, there are those who are profit-oriented, for whom a work of art is primarily an investment without there being a personal, emotional connection or in-depth specialist knowledge.

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En plein air – Claude Monet in Giverny

Excerpts from the book “Flowers for Monet”

Don’t we all long to live like flowers, alive with perfect beauty? The work of Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) is a seed that has firmly taken root in the world’s artistic heritage. As an artist and editor of intercultural art books, the occasion of Monet’s 180th birthday and my visit at his garden in Giverny inspired me to create an homage for him – in the form of a book featuring flower paintings. Flowers possess a lyrical aura; trees are said to be antennae connected with the universe. Rejoicing in the beauty of a flower or a picturesque landscape often makes us feel like we, ourselves, are bursting into bloom. Every flower has a “deva”, a “higher spirit” possessing a mysterious power of attraction that can be further intensified by the spiritual aura of artworks. Like Claude Monet’s Giverny, like his paintings, this gift book, too, emanates its own, unique scent. While the subtle color shades of flowers often exceed our imagination, artworks and poems have one advantage over them: They do not wilt. We can lean back and enjoy their emotionally charged beauty any time. “Flowers for Monet”, however, is not a printed florilegium, but a garden designed as an homage inspired by poetic spirit. In the broadest sense, flower paintings are also gifts of nature, because the aura of the flowers is reflected in their artistic expression – we may discover it in the artists’ delicacy of style, or in their pursuit of botanical precision. Equally, flower paintings, like Dutch vanitas still lifes, may be inspired by the unstoppable decay of nature. My selection of haiku poems was doubtlessly influenced by the lyrical poetry of Claude Monet’s own œuvre.

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George Sand and Frédéric Chopin on the Isle of Majorca

Excerpt from the book “Art Retreat 2020-21 – Living with pictures”

One chapter of the book “Art Retreat 2020-21” is dedicated to the 210th anniversary of birth of the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. During his stay with the French writer George Sand on the island of Mallorca, he wrote the world-famous “Rainbow Prelude”. Chopin’s dreamy Mallorca pieces flow into the creative contemplation of the pictures as musical recommendations. The editor of the book has assigned a selection of Chopin’s Mallorca Preludes op. 28 to the colors, both according to their key and according to their musical statement. Chopin had a copy of the preludes from the “Well-Tempered Piano” of Johann Sebastian Bach in his luggage and was inspired by it. It starts with C major and moves clockwise through the circle of fifths, which basically corresponds to the tonal order of colors in this book. When leafing through the color chapters, readers experience a relaxing effect. The shortness of the Préludes allows small-format paintings and haiku poems equally to appear often only as snapshots of a mood.

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On Ludwig van Beethoven’s „Moonlight Sonata“

Excerpt from the book “Moonlight Sonatas for Beethoven”

Name a tune you want to listen to again and again, because it goes straight to the heart. Millions on the internet click “Moonlight Sonata” in response to this call. At the same time, both the title and the history of this work have long been subjects of debate. The fact is that Beethoven reversed the conventional sequence of the first and the second movement, thus breaking with the classical sonata form, which may explain this word choice of “fantasy” in the original title. Based on this idea, 69 artists from 26 countries got together at the occasion of Beethoven’s 250th birthday and – with boundless sensitivity – interpreted the “Moonlight Sonata” in visual terms. Was it not the image of a landscape, after all, that led to the work’s famous epithet?

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The oratorio ‘The Seasons’ by Joseph Haydn

Excerpt from the book “Excellent Art 2020”

Starting in Volume 2 of the “Excellent Art” series, each book will introduce one famous musical work that may contribute to the harmonious overall sound, alongside the topic related selection of haiku poetry. By introducing a musical work, the editor hopes to inspire readers to expand their perception to the tonal aspects of art and poetry. Inspired by the composer’s international experiences, and the way he uses notes like a painter in this work, she has chosen “The Seasons” by Joseph Haydn. After all, the seasons are of universal importance in the poetry of the world’s peoples.

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Concept of the book series “Art Retreat” and the meditation with works of art

You can use our art meditation for all images that can be viewed in our various book series!

The concept is based on our international art installations of previous years. Its basic tenor can also be transferred to the art meditation with the works in the other book series. In addition to the small-format pictures from the “Art Retreat” book series, the large-format pictures from all book series are also included annually in our German online show, where they are sorted by color and inspire an art and color meditation.

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A Fine Art Journey – Thoughts on Traveling

Poets and artists are interested in experiencing selected places with a specific atmosphere, because their talent is based on their special power of perception and their sensitivity. Most of them are experts at zooming in on impressions that move their imagination and lead to the release of poetic sparks. Whenever Hermann Hesse went on a trip, for example, he brought home what he referred to as “some large or small treasure”. These treasures included the deep insights he had gleaned from eastern spirituality. He also had a clearer understanding of the social injustices in the world than many of his contemporaries.

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Guillaume Apollinaire’s Words Set to Music and his Time in the Rhineland

Excerpt from the book “Art Retreat 2019”

Apollinaire and Music

As it seemed fitting, we decided to return to the theme of our “Hommage à Guillaume Apollinaire“ during the exhibition period of 2018-2019. This time, we are honoring the great French poet with our latest book. Each chapter is dedicated to a color and begins with the name of a composer followed by a piece of music set by the same to one of Apollinaire’s poems. This is yet another way to continue our tradition of bringing together visual arts with poetry and music in our events and art books. Doubtlessly, our artistic creativity also draws on the poetic soulscape inhabited by the famous poet, art critic, and friend of Picasso’s for an entire year.

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