140113: Städel Museum Dark Romanticism from Goya to Max Ernst

Städel Museum Dark Romanticism from Goya to Max Ernst 26.09.2012 – 20.01.2013 Cold horror in 7 chapters By Daniela Gregori What is there to expect from an exhibition that devotes itself to “Dark Romanticism”? Of course, the works must include Johann Heinrich Füssli’s “Nightmare” as well as works by Francisco Goya, who, as a master of horror, guides us through the depths of human existence in which victims and offenders, good and bad appear as interchangeable objects. Théodore Géricaut and Eugène Delacroix must also be part of this exhibition, likewise the German Romanticists – even if their works were devoid of people: open graves, derelict churches, lonely bleak landscapes, cold, gloomy scenarios. Somewhere one seems to find an abyss in this heavy silence among the works of Caspar David Friedrich, Gustav Carus and Carl Blechen. Recent works come from the younger generation, which includes Odilon Redon, Arnold Böcklin, James Ensor, Fernand Khnopff, Edvard Munch, Alfred Kubin or at least one secretive sin by Franz von Stuck. The surrealists presented themselves as eager successors and even movies were able to contribute to the general feeling of horror: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Nosferatu in the 1920s, the famous scene in the Andalusian Dog by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali in which one sees an eye being slit by a razor or the films Dracula and Frankenstein. So far, so good and predictable. Yet, the exhibition in the Frankfurt Städel Museum is wonderful. The little surprises are what make the difference; practically unknown examples by well known artists. Among them William Blake’s “The Great Red Dragon”, Paul Delaroche’s portrait of his dead wife, and Victor Hugo, whose scribblings were inspiring to surrealists. And finally, for more than two decades, Brassai collected graffiti, cracks and holes in walls that transformed into scalps, masks and faces and thereby become a momento mori in urban space. Yet, what is especially surprising in the seven sections of this exhibition that narrate loneliness, melancholy, passion, hopelessness, insanity and death, is the special type of visitors. Rarely does one encounter so many interested young visitors in an exhibition. And that definitely had nothing to do with the cheerfully fluttering bats dashing across the museum’s website. Städel Museum 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Dürerstrasse 2 Tel: +49 69 605098-0 Fax: +49 69 605098-111 email: info@staedelmuseum.de www.staedelmuseum.de Opening hours: Tue, Fri - Sun 10.00 - 18.00 hours, Wed, Thu 10.00 - 21.00 hours

Städel Museum
60596 Frankfurt am Main, Dürerstraße 2
Tel: +49 69 605098-0, Fax: +49 69 605098-111
Email: info@staedelmuseum.de
Öffnungszeiten: Di, Fr - So 10.00 - 18.00, Mi, Do 10.00 - 21.00

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