Sunday, 2 June 2013

Morning Museums Bauhaus and Goethehaus

So, I left my hotel in the morning after a nice talk with the Wirt's uncle.  I asked him about how it was now compared to before die Wende. He is an older guy and for him things have not gotten better.  He now gets about 650 Euros per month and has rent that costs him 400 Euros per month which doesn't leave him a lot of money for electricity, food and general bills. He said things got worse after they went to the Euro because everything got expensive. His parents were left-wingers and so when the East zone was established they went East. (The Nazis put his father in a camp because of his left leanings).

He still has idealistic hopes, but feels the DDR system was corrupt and they hadn't found the right way.  He also seems to believe that people are basically greedy and that the "Großkonzerne" can't be stopped.  It is so interesting to compare his pessimism with that of my German mother Frau G. She is extremely conservative having several times invoked the name of one of the most arch-conservative leaders in Bavaria Franz Josef Strauss and yet...

when it comes right down to it, I was hearing exactly the same  words from both. People expect too much, they are greedy, human nature can't be controlled etc. It was very interesting.

Okay back to the story - I headed ito town and took pictures all over before heading to the Goethehaus.

I love the variety of colors and buildings. Below is the Weimarer rathaus. It was originally built in 1841 in the Neo-gothic style based on the Town Hall in Hof.  It is actually the third version of their townhall - the first having been built in 1396, but it burned down 28 years later. In 1583 they built a new one in Renaissance style, but this one too (the one that Goethe and Schiller would have known) burned to the ground in 1837.

Here is an old engraving of the current Rathaus in the 1850s.

There was an assortment of lovely buildings in the Innenstadt.

This was a fascinating rendition of Shakespeare.

And of course all over the place are the "George Washington slept here" signs (except this one says that Schiller lived there).

The Fachwerk buildings are particularly attractive.

Okay, so I headed to the Goethehaus and bought my Thuringia pass which allowed me "free" entrance to all the Weimar museums (except for the Anna Amalie Library) for 24 hours. It was a great deal only 16 Euros (about $20) and even better I could pay for it with my credit card at the Goethe house and thereby preserve my sparse amount of cash for food!


Of course the only problem was that my 24 hours strated to run as soon as I bought the card, but I would have to wait an hour before I wold be alowwed in to the museum. The easy answer was to buy the ticket (Get the 12:00 time slot) and then go to another nearby museum. Indeed I had eyed the Bauhaus museum with envy and was told it was pretty small, so I ran over to it and took a look around!
It was indeed small (and I couldn't take pictures, so I completely forgot to take a pictureoeven of the outside of the building (a bit ironic since it was a museum about a famous architect - but the museum isn't really Bauhaus style anyway! I've borrowed a picture from elsewhere on the net.)

I enjoyed the museum, but knew most of what it had to offer. Still it was nice to see Feininger highlighted along with Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Marcel Breuer was not even mentioned, (perhaps because he was a sell-out to the west?), but Walter Gropius of course featured large. (In fact this very photo was featured prominently in several parts of the museum.)

I bought a book and then headed back to the Goethe house. I took hundreds of pictures so, I'm only going to post a few selected images.  

This first is what Goethe would have seen (on the landing) upon entering his house and going up the stairs.

He loved ancient art and studied reproductions endlessly (having many full-sized sculptural reproductions and other art he'd seen in Italy in his house.) He had thousands of prints and interchangeable frames so that he could put up new ones regularly.

Here's the top of that same staircase:

We had these little ipods with info on each of the rooms and could hear about what Goethe did when and where.

Goethe would have received people in this room which shows his interests and is dominated by this gigantic Roman/Greek head.

 Out the window you can see the garden and a little garden house.

Goethe moved to the house in 1782. Within 10 years his patron bought the house for him.  Twos seem to be important numbers in his life - Moved there in 1782 - became owner in 1792. He lived to be 82 years old and died in 1832!

Goethe was a collector of Majollica (It must have reminded him of his trip to Italy).

 Here you can see some of his many prints.

Here are some playing cards that he had in the house.

Goethe loved this large head of Juno or Hera and it dominates the music room. Goethe could play the piano according to the  guide, but he much preferred listening to others play.

This is the next room over. That desk on the left is absolutely gorgeous.

On the back side of the house were the more functional rooms. (The places where Goethe worked and slept.)  I was very interested in his library, which he did not necessarily bother to bind in fancy bindings.

Here is his work room. He devised his own cases for his rock specimens.

 And Goethe slept here.

After we finished looking at the house, we went into the museum to see artifacts of Goethe's life. There was too much to describe here - many rooms divided by the influences in Goethe's life. We saw his inspirations, his household items and even some of his clothing.

Unfortunately this image is fuzzy, but this was Goethe's coat. It seemed gigantic. He must have been a very large man.

Here's a better image from a Bloomberg review of the museum.
This application of the poem Prometheus to the idea of genius echeoed what I tried to teach my class this year.


I also was intrigued by the fact that Goethe had a cast of the skull of Titian.

Another cast was of the hand of Charlotte von Stein - a very dear friend of his.

This was something he must have devised for his color theory.  The color of his room's was all carefully considered. His work rooms for example were painted green to have a beneficial effect on his work.

Goethe was a man of many interests and here we see botany and mineralogy reflected.

In school I had to write a paper about Goethe's discovery o fthe intermaxilliary bone. I was happy to see this exhibit on the topic. (Den Zwischenkieferknochen.) Goethe showed the connection of humans to animals by tracing this bone in the jaws of humans as well as other animals.

After seeing the house, we went over to a museum that had an exhibit on the work of Friedrich Bury. He was an early friend of Goethe's and  stayed a good friend.  I couldn't take pictures, but I was able to find a couple of them on the web. He was not a bad artist, but some of his paintings were poorly "restored" and had loss their delicacy of detail.

This one below is of several very famous people playing chess.

After finishing up in the museum, it was time to leave. Outside we could see children fascinated with Goethe (or at least with this modern sculpture that stands in the Goetheplatz.

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