Zollverein Essen – the herbarium

I’m still posting pictures from Germany! This was taken inside a display at the Zollverein XII museum in Essen. Sandwiched between glass plates were examples of all the flora found on the grounds as they were transforming the old factories into a culture-space.

This is about my favorite picture of me (me me!) this year.

My Zollverein XII photos on Flickr.

Your Blogger at the Museum Folkwang, Essen

Museum Folkwang, Essen by Michael Tinkler
Museum Folkwang, Essen, a photo by Michael Tinkler on Flickr.

Finally! I’ve gotten the pictures uploaded and mainly sorted! Danyal and I went to several museums – the best art museum was certainly the Folkwang. They have a splendid collection of 19th and 20th Century German and French painting and some good sculpture. The building is brand new (built since I was in in Essen in 2009, which was one of my main reasons for going back!). It’s by David Chipperfield – here’s the story of the competition. It’s a very serene building – the colors are very subdued, and the galleries are strung around a series of courtyards. Every courtyard is different — some are partially paved, some have trees, some have sculptures. Here are my photos (or photos of me there). Here are everyone’s. We weren’t supposed to take interior photos, but I really don’t see why we can’t photograph for architecture.

The exterior surface is made of what I think is a cast glass – irregularly smooth, but very satisfying to touch and look at.

Placeholder for the Folkwang Museum

Sorry for the slowblogging, but I’vehave very limited wifi and am having trouble getting pictures off my camera And onto the iPad. But take it from me, the Folkwang Museum in Essen is a great collection — worth a detour, though not a trip on its own. Maybe a Rhineland Art Swing?

19th-21st C, very strong on expressionists and graphic arts (drawings and a major collection of German poster art). And the new building is splendid. More later — off to look at an Alvar Aalto symphony hall on the other side of the train station!

The Golden Virgin of Essen

This statue of the Virgin and Child was made around 980 for Abbess Matilda, granddaughter of Emperor Otto I. I like it for two or three reasons. First, it’s all golden and great. Second, she’s got great enamel goggle eyes – and they’re weirder in person than in photographs. Third, she undercuts a particularly tedious assertion of those kinds of people who like to see the invention of the reflective individual in the 12th or 13th Century.*

They tend to say things like “all Virgin and Child sculptures from the 11th Century are hieratic and stiff and frontal and formal and not very nice. Then in the delightful Gothic era we begin to see mothers who interact vividly with the child Jesus.” I know, I’m not being fair, but one does get tired of the condescension, whether from Lady de Burgh** or other medievalists.

Well hell. Look at this one. So she’s not making eye contact with Him – but the whole pose is as dynamic as a Schoene Jungfrau of the 15th Century. This artist had seen something in touch with the Classical – something Byzantine, something real, something naturalistic. The monastery at Essen undoubtedly had stuff that had percolated west from the 9th Century capital of the world – Constantinople. That marriage for Otto II with the Theophanu girl, whoever she really was, came with gear.*** In fact, one of the immediate successors of the abbess who commissioned this statue was even named after Theophanu.

What a nexus object! I was very happy to visit Her.

*You know, like this book.
**Gratuitous Jane Austen reference.
***Really. We’re still debating who Theophanu was – niece of the Emperor?