HAVC 135B : German Art 1905-1945

What connections can be—carefully—made between some of the ideas of “spirit” or cultural renewal that we have discussed in terms of Romanticism and Expressionism?

As far as I am concerned, Romanticism and Expressionism can reflect the ideas of “spirit” or cultural renewal under the rejection of traditional rulers. Take the painting called “Leda and the Swan” created by Paul Mathias Padua in1939 as an example. In the picture, a beautiful naked woman seems so close to a white swan. The first impression give by the painting is the sexuality. But after knowing the background of the painting, we can know that under the shadow of romantic scene, these two main themes demonstrate the sense of expectation and disclose the role of woman as mother instead of prostitute. The swan is the embodiment of elegance, which reflects the beauty of the woman; and the woman was a symbol of nature with a spirit of devotion. The combination of the beautiful naked woman and the white swan creates a form of aesthetic beauty under the romantic circumstance. Therefore, through all the superficial surface, like the romanticism, a spirit of willing to be sacrificed for the nation was widely stressed. I think under the guide of the valuable spirit, not only the spirit but also the culture of the nation will be thrived for a better day.

- Summer 2016

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