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Max Beckmann And The Totality Of The Self Summary

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Max Beckmann and the Totality of the Self Beckmann, in a speech to the Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, addressed the audience of the 1954 BFA students with this: “It is very necessary that you also comprehend how close to danger you are. If you devote yourself to the ascetic life, if you renounce all worldly pleasures, all human things, you may, I suppose, attain a certain concentration, but for the same reason you may also dry up. Now if you plunge headlong into the arms of passion, you may just as easily burn yourself up! Art, love and passion are very closely related because everything revolves more less around knowledge and the enjoyment of beauty in one form or another.” (Buenger 313) Not that Beckmann did not take his own advice in his pursuit of a making beautiful art, rather: Beckmann adopted a kind of art that strode towards what would be called “Neue Fig. 1 Several pieces by Beckmann. Night (1918), Top-left. Bird’s Hell (1938), lower-left. Totenkopfstilleben (1945) Top-right. The Acrobats (1939) lower-left. All these were painted while Beckmann was outside of Nazi rule. Sachlichkeit”, or “new objectivity.” To be objective is to exist outside of the self and exist for one’s own sake (to decide on fact or some other reasoning), which Beckmann saw as an answer to the German Expressionist movement, which he did not identify with. Beckmann would distort realities in his paintings: investigating humor through use of the grotesque or profane that
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