“weltgeist”

8 min läsning

Spike, our erstwhile criticreturns to painters TUBES magazine in this issue on icons. His article is about doing something with a soul for its own sake and not just for the money, but in a more balanced state of being.

It’s known as “Weltgiest.” A word that has a relation to the philosophy of Goethe. It was around 1709 that Christian Thomasius wrote about a belief in the Weltgiest, which the word that can also mean an active principal that ‘animates the universe.’ (anima mundi, spititus universe).

Spike talks about this in the modern sense and recalls how his friend Terry Ffyffe, a painter did find his own Weltgeist, but didn’t live long enough to fulfil his destiny. One that was helping to bring painting back to it’s core reason for creating works of Art. Painting that has something more than surface or decorative value.

Weltgeist is a German word that describes a sort of world spirit, perhaps it can be best explained as a sort of ‘awareness of your own consciousness’. Weltgeist for an artist, is not uncommon, many artists have recorded experiencing it at one time or another during their lifetime, Van Gogh, Rouault, Gauguin, Malevich, Chagall, Pollock and Rothko, just to mention a few. I guess another way of describing the ‘Weltgeist’ of an artist is arriving at a state of mind of a momentary spiritual connection, whilst simultaneously creating art. What that connection point is, or what that spiritual link is remains a mystery. But it seems to depend on the personal history or the deeply held belief(s) of the Artist.

That belief can be of a religious nature or of a wider secular view of what humans are here on earth for, where we come from and where are we going. Summed up in modern language as, “what’s life all about?” Answers to the basic questions that humanity have been seeking to discover from the very beginning of time. Gauguin was probably the first artist to make visual that ubiquitous question in his famous painting of 1897. D’où Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous. Painted by Paul Gauguin now in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, image: Public Domain, Weltgeist or an inner awareness, could be also be explained as an Artistic epiphany. The American art critic Donald Kuspit mentioned this word when discussing his book, “The End of Art” in an interview on critical of contemporary Art at the time.

Much of what he outlined in the interview reinforced many of my private thoughts about the ‘Post Modern Art’ movement of the late 20th and into the early 21st century. Kuspit’s book sugges

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