Power of colours – the colour red

The colour red: Red is preferably used when our vital forces are weakened. Red stimulates all processes in the body, stimulates metabolic activities and has a strong influence on the vegetative nervous system. The warm red also has an invigorating and positively reinforcing effect on an emotional level. It increases the sensuality, the conscious experience and feeling and the expression of uninhibited passion. On a mental level, the energy of the colour red gives us a strong will, determination and stamina.

With the color red, we humans associate ripe fruits, love and fluidity of life, the blood. In magic, this colour is used in rituals aimed at health, fertility, love, courage and strength. The colour also stands for passion, emotions, aggressiveness and strength of will.

The color red is considered the color of fire or blood. In Hebrew the words blood and red have the same origin: red means “dm” and blood means “dom”. Blood and fire have both positive and negative connotations. Hate, war, aggression and bloodshed are opposed by power, love, warmth and passion. The bright, luminous red was connected with the male principle in the Greeks and later also in Christianity. It was the colour of the Greek war gods Phoebus and Ares.

The biblical Adam was created from red earth. In the early cultures, however, the dark red of the blood was assigned to the female. The “Mother Earth” donated the red ochre to the peoples of the Stone Age, to which life-supporting powers were ascribed. In Japan, the red is still rather assigned to the female today.

Due to its beneficial and warming effect, the colour red (as infrared radiation) is used for healing purposes. In general it has a stimulating and appetite-enhancing effect. The mere perception of the colour red increases the human metabolism by 13.4 percent (Source: Theroux, 1998). It is the children’s favourite colour. Psychotherapy makes use of the colour red to release blocked abilities for constructive aggression and for living out sexuality.

The colour red can also trigger destructive aggression and violence. The huge canvases exhibited by the artist Barnett Newman with a large proportion of red were attacked and damaged by viewers. The bullfighters in Spain irritate the bulls with red cloths. But this is a fallacy, because the bulls are color-blind and would also react to other colors. They only react to the movement of the toreros.

Red is the colour of emotional outbursts: when you feel ashamed or angry, you blush. Those who lose control of themselves “see red”.

In road traffic, the colour red signals danger. Red traffic lights prohibit driving or walking, red brake lights and alarm buttons are also red. The signal effect of the colour red is successfully used in the animal kingdom for species identification, courtship display or as a warning colour.

Positive associations with the colour red:

happiness, joie de vivre, energy, activity, love, sexuality, eroticism, lust, seduction, strength, fire, heat, warmth, desire, blood

Negative associations with the color red:

the hatred, the anger, the anger, the excitement, the aggressiveness, the loudness, the noise, the immorality, the danger, the forbidden

  • In China, red is the color of happiness and wealth.
  • In Russia the colour red stands for the terms valuable and expensive.
  • In Japan, red is the color of women.
  • In the Catholic Church, it symbolizes blood and fire; Pentecost, suffering of Christ and martyrdom. In the evangelical church, Pentecost, apostle and martyr festivals.
  • Anyone who writes a name in red in Korea signals that this person is dead.
  • Red is considered the color of life in some parts of Africa. Therefore, in certain regions of Central Africa and Oceania, sick people are coated with red ochre to stimulate their vitality. For the Ashanti in West African Ghana, red is the colour of mourning.
  • The wearing of red ribbons or scarves was part of the wedding customs of many peoples. This tradition already existed in Roman times: the Roman brides were wrapped in a fire-red cloth. Even today, Greek, Albanian and Armenian brides wear red bridal veils.
  • In China, the bride is carried to the wedding ceremony in a red wedding dress and a red sedan chair. When a child is born, the neighbours deliver red eggs to the happy couple as a sign of happiness and well-being.
  • Already in ancient China, red was the colour of happiness, which drove away forces and evil spirits and at the same time was regarded as the colour of wealth.
  • In ancient Egypt, red was a precious colour with which the daughters of the pharaohs adorned themselves. The Egyptians were fashionable for making up cheeks, lips and fingernails. In order to gain a little purple red, slaves had to collect thousands of purple snails, crush them and boil them to brew.

The history of art prints

Printing technology and in particular art prints have a long history. Nowadays the term “art print” is mainly used for the reproduction of works of art with modern printing methods. The prices for art prints vary as much as for works of art.

Depending on the print run, the fame of the artist, the technique, brilliance, quality and material, age, size and motif, prices are demanded and offered at any level.

Block printing

Block printing, also known as wood plate printing, was a common technique in China and Southeast Asia as early as the seventh or eighth century A.D., in which both drawings and texts were cut into the same wooden printing form. Thousands of prints of the Dharani Prayers still exist today, packed in wooden pagoda models. In Europe, these possibilities were only demonstrably used many centuries later. Wooden stamps and entire block books were produced here from about the twelfth century onwards. In China there are also old printing stamps made of ceramics.


Johannes Gutenberg is said to have invented the modern printing press. He produced movable letters made of metal and revolutionised communication at the time, which was reflected above all in political upheavals, but also put the education system on a new footing. Stone artwork was also used to produce printed matter, which has now been replaced by offset printing. This technique continues to be used artistically.

Linoleum printing

Linoleum has existed since the end of the 19th century. This material is ideal for art prints. Even multi-colouring is achieved by combining either different plates for the different colours or continuous trimming with certain printing processes. Artists usually produce six or twelve prints, which are then also numbered, and print I/VI then also has the greatest value.

The modern art print

For the reproduction of paintings and also for the production of banknotes or passports all available technical possibilities are exhausted. Above all, the colours purple, gold and silver cannot be achieved with standard printing processes in the original tone. Thus, instead of four-colour printing (CMYK), eight- or even twelve-colour printing is used. The best and most brilliant results in terms of colour are achieved by means of very elaborate and rarely used chromolithography (colour stone impression) and light printing, which is hardly used today.

Today, digital printing and offset printing are commonly used for commercial art prints. It is likely that 3D printers will now gain their place in the production of art prints. These art prints will then be printed on high-quality textured paper or canvas, and also offered ready to use with frames.

Modern art prints can be used to embellish living spaces, but also offices, museums or workshops. Specialised suppliers also offer art prints as individual and personalised products. Thus such art prints are suitable also outstanding as gift. The printing technique up to the modern art prints has developed strongly over the past centuries. It all began in China with simple wooden panels.

Decorate with pictures

Pictures on the walls make it cosy and give the rooms a personal touch. Not only the motifs are important, but also the placement and arrangement. These great tips help with the wall design with pictures.

Effect of pictures

Pictures change the effect of a room. They can stimulate, calm, surprise and more. As a small rule of thumb, a few large pictures tend to have a calming effect. With many small pictures a room appears more alive. You can find a lot of pictures and inspiration for your walls at https://www.art-trade.de/.

Different motifs provide variety. However, the overall result is more harmonious if a red thread runs through a group of pictures. These can be similarities in theme, colour, format, frame or art style.

Picture frames also influence the effect of the picture. It seems balanced when the material and colour of the framing are also found in the interior, but this is not a must. Coloured frames or coloured passe-partouts can additionally highlight motifs. Timeless and actually always suitable are black and white frames. An abstract picture in an ornate frame? Yes, because even contrasts can be a great effect. And it also works without a frame. Ultimately, it’s your own taste and the desired effect that decide this question.

Tips for arrangement

Let yourself be inspired by our tips for arrangement or visit the louvre or the tate britain.

order in chaos

Exact alignment is not necessarily important here. With the so-called Petersburg Hängung, as many pictures as possible in different formats and framings are closely connected. The name derives from the fact that citizens of St. Petersburg used to present their wealth and possessions in this way. Those who don’t like it to be so confused can, for example, create more peace with uniform formats.

edge to edge

In edge hanging, the wall paintings are arranged along an imaginary line and hung on edge. Either the upper or lower edge of the pictures is aligned with this line. Two rows of pictures are beautiful, whereby an imaginary centre line serves as orientation. The upper picture row is aligned with the lower edge of this line, the lower picture row with the upper edge. The distances between the images should always be the same. The image formats can vary. If all pictures are uniformly framed or unframed, this results in a great effect.

always one after the other

Whether horizontal or vertical, with the classic row hanging, the pictures are placed in a row on a straight line. Pictures in the same format are perfect for this arrangement. If there are different sizes, then align the upper or lower edge of the pictures with this line, as in the case of edge hanging. Or an original solution: Align the image centers with the line.

hang in the center

Hanged individually on the wall, a picture becomes the focal point of the wall design. In this way its full effect can unfold. Your own taste determines format and framing. This is because it is all about skilfully staging your favourite picture.

stay in the grid

With grid suspension, the images are arranged according to a strict geometric scheme. For example, four pictures in two rows or nine pictures in three rows below each other. It is important to hang the pictures at exact intervals on edges and to maintain an even distribution. This only works if format and framing are uniform.

divided into three parts

A triptych describes a picture consisting of three individual parts. The motif is distributed over the three parts. Large-format motifs are particularly suitable for this. So that the picture connection does not get lost when hanging up, the individual elements should be hung up if possible on a line and with small distance. Such a divided picture can also be made by yourself. For example, cut an art print into three parts with a sharp cutter and hang the individual elements together.

turned off

You can do it without holes in the walls. On a picture bar different pictures can be put down and exchanged fast again: A simple and flexible solution.

become creative

There are many other decorative possibilities. Group images into geometric shapes, such as circles or rectangles. Or arrange multiple images around a corner. Let your creativity run wild.

Good preparation is everything

The easiest way to choose the perfect arrangement is to first position the pictures on the floor and try them out. Once the perfect arrangement has been found, the distances between the images are measured and transferred to the wall. Those who are not yet one hundred percent sure can cut paper or cardboard into the formats of the pictures and first carefully fix them to the wall with adhesive strips. Thus, the arrangement can be viewed directly on the wall. The positioning on the walls can also be tried out with masking tape. Before doing so, test in an inconspicuous place whether the masking tape can also be removed without leaving any residue.

Not to forget – the suspensions

  • The suspension is the A and O for wall paintings. Depending on the product and size, our murals already have a suspension device with one or two hangers pre-assembled.
  • So they are ready to hang. And with our invisible spacers many products get a great free-floating look.
  • Whether the suspension is carried out with nails, screws or hooks depends entirely on the weight of the products and the condition of the wall. Posters can be fixed with adhesive devices or require a frame.
  • Our self-adhesive wall paintings can be attached without any holes in the walls. They are easy to hang up and can be removed and fixed elsewhere without leaving any residue.

Important tools are a spirit level and a measuring tape. Especially with several pictures, it is easy to notice when they hang crooked. Precise measurement ensures that the arrangement is perfect.

What is an art print?

There will be two answers to the question “What is an art print?”, which result from how strictly the person in question deals with the term. In common usage, art prints often refer to pictures or posters based on a famous work.

In other words, prints that represent art. In contrast, the answer to the question “What is an art print?”, taking the actual definition into account, describes a printing process that, while primarily designed to reproduce paintings, must meet certain criteria.

Art prints can be bought for very reasonable prices, at www.aufleinwand.com/ for example.

The main purpose of art printing is to reproduce a painting as faithfully as possible. In order to achieve the color impression of the original, that can be viewed at a musem, which usually results from a variety of colors used and characteristic color mixtures of the artist, the art print uses more basic colors than the usual color print. This is also necessary in order to be able to represent special colours such as gold, silver or purple. The greater the number of colours used, the better the original colour impression is reproduced and the higher the quality of the print.

Raster printing

A further feature of high-quality art printing is a screenless or frequency-modulated, non-periodic screen printing, which prevents the so-called moiré effect, the formation of patterns caused by colour overlays. In addition, the art print uses high-quality print carriers. These are on the one hand canvases, on the other hand art print papers or art print cartons. The papers are matt, silk matt or glossy coated.

The priming with chalk or other coating materials ensures a more stable surface and optimum colour absorption, which in turn is reflected in bright, intensive colours and sharp contours.

Art Print Qualities

Contrary to the widespread opinion that an art print is merely a reproduction of art, usually in the form of a painting, an art print is rather a printing process that deals primarily with the representation of paintings as close to the original as possible.

In order to reproduce the colour impression of the original as faithfully as possible, however, art printing requires not only special printing machines, but also a considerably more extensive range of colours and colour mixtures, including special colours such as gold, silver or purple, than simple colour printing. High-quality art prints therefore fulfil a number of criteria that distinguish them from colour copies produced using simple printing processes.

  • The original is printed without a screen or in a non-periodic screen, also known as a frequency-modulated screen, which prevents a moiré effect. A moiré effect occurs when screens or lines overlap to create new lines and a marbling effect.
  • The number of colours used and the printing process used are listed on the certificate or in a marginal area of the art print.
  • The print substrate is a high-quality substrate, such as high-quality image paper or textile print substrates such as canvas. In addition, art prints are framed, presented as a passe-partout or as a deco block.

4 typical beginner errors in flower photos

Flowers are beautiful. Some like certain varieties better than others, but most people agree that flowers are beautiful. This is partly because they have beautiful bright colours, especially when the sun shines through the somewhat transparent petals, and partly because flowers are always symmetrical. We find these well-ordered forms combined with bright colours beautiful.

Image from http://www.dieleinwand.de/leinwandbilder/Blumen/

In addition to these aesthetic reasons, there are two other reasons why photography beginners in particular like to photograph flowers: They are usually easy to find in the home garden and do not move. This makes them an ideal training object for photo amateurs. I know this because at the beginning I tried myself in my mother’s garden to shoot flowers.

Nevertheless, flowers are not the easiest photo motifs. The reason is paradoxical: precisely because many people like to photograph flowers, the yardstick has moved higher and higher in the course of time. The photo community Flickr alone has over 16 million flower photos in its stock – and the trend is rising fast. To get you inspiration, there is currrently an awesome exhibition at https://pushkinmuseum.art/.

There are four typical beginner’s mistakes in flower photography.

1st mistake: Photographing from above

On the one hand, she photographs the delicate plant directly from above. This allows the symmetry to be clearly seen, but provides a turbulent, dark background like earth or grass, which makes the photo appear unaesthetic. Sometimes, when the sun is shining, a wide aperture (large aperture value) is added, which leads to a continuous sharpness in the picture, which does not allow the background to sink mercifully into blur, but rather images crisply sharp and thus distracts from the flower.

As the first picture of this article shows, there are exceptions where only the view from above reveals the attraction. This is the case when the fullness or variety of the flowers is to be shown and there is no disturbing background. Or why not photograph flowers from below? This is guaranteed to be an unusual sight.

2nd mistake: No perfect flowers

In the heat of the battle with light, camera angles and the right angle, some photographers often overlook tiny flaws in flowers, such as wilted flower parts, dried flower edges, leaves eaten away by insects or the like. In a macro shot, however, these tiny blemishes are displayed oversized and disturb. If you have several flowers to choose from, it is worth comparing which flower has the most beautiful and ideal flower.

3nd mistake: missing image composition

The natural beauty of a flower fascinates many photographers in such a way that they completely forget (see 1. mistake) the surroundings. Often this leads to the fact that on beginner photos of flowers a pretty flower can be seen somewhere small in the picture, but the whole “green stuff” around it is cropped completely inappropriately and disorderly into the picture.

There are two simple means of design to avoid this. First, a wide open aperture allows a shallow depth of field, which almost automatically directs the focus to the small part of the image that is in focus. The photo below clearly shows the effect and also proves that exciting image compositions are possible with a little effort even with flower photos.

Secondly, the natural symmetry of the plants also allows the composition to be left entirely to nature, by taking up the flower so densely that only the flower symmetry is in the picture – without leaves, stems or background.

4nd mistake: lack of time and risk

With a lack of time I paraphrase the fact that many flower photos of beginners are often taken on the side, sometimes quickly while walking along the wayside or between lunch and coffee break in the home garden. Shortly after and squeezed. A tripod, reflector or even a flash system and elaborate illumination of the flowers are afraid of many beginners. Either because the money and thus the necessary devices are missing or because the experience in dealing with it is not available. The latter would be an additional reason to do this more often. This Making-Of photo shows how much effort can be made for a flower photo, even if I don’t like the result so much.

By risk I don’t mean daring actions where water lilies are photographed from below with a DSLR, but the decision to pick flowers (of course only from my own garden) so that it’s much easier to drape them in a vase. This kills several birds with one stone: The restless background is gone, there are more composition possibilities and you can choose the most beautiful one.

Beach Art

Dutchman Theo Jansen builds kinetic art objects that run independently driven by the wind. The filigree machines look like beings from another time, from another world.

Note: All images from this post have been taken from http://www.panoramaposter.net/

The Dutchman Theo Jansen calls his babies “Strandbeester” in German. Since 1992 he has been dealing with it and year after year he gives birth to new constructions, more filigree buildings, like living monsters. Or do they actually live?

In the past, they had to be pushed or pulled over soft sand, but over the years the beasts became more and more mobile.

Most important type of drive: the wind

Or compressed air. These constructions, reminiscent of mythical creatures, sometimes run hundreds of metres across the beach, sometimes with seemingly crazy rhythms of movement. Towards the water, out into the mudflats at low tide or, when the wind turns onshore, on the “escape” from the tide back into the dry.

They can even anchor themselves independently in the ground in the event of a storm. Some of the beasts are constructed in such a way that they turn around on contact with water and run back towards the dune. And some recognize obstacles by feelers and bypass them.

Now in its eighth generation “on the move”, the “beach testers” are supposed to represent a new step in evolution, describes Theo Jansen. Maybe this is what the “new beings” look like, who will populate this planet in millions of years after almost all life on this earth has been wiped out by an evolutionary error called homo sapiens.

  • At least the building material that Jansen uses today would still exist.
  • The Dutch artist builds exclusively from PVC pipes and holds his constructions together with cable ties.
  • What at first glance seems ecologically sinful could perhaps already be a look at the recycling of our environmental waste in the distant future.

Photographing mountains correctly

Mountain photography is regarded as a particularly fascinating form of photography. Hiking and photography complement each other perfectly. A photo trip to the mountains combines effort and relaxation.

No matter if Himalaya, Alps, Andes, Rocky Mountains or Carpathians – every mountain range has its special impressions ready. For an excursion into the mountains, a combination of alpine equipment and physical fitness is required. Afterwards, you will be compensated for your efforts with a unique view and impressive photo motifs.

In addition, you can develop your full creativity with mountain photography. So that you do not miss the ideal picture, you should already be well acquainted with the tools of a photographer, such as aperture, exposure time and iso-sensitivity, as well as their effects and connections and be able to use these purposefully.

Preparation and camera equipment for a trip to the mountains

If you have planned a photo trip to the mountains, you should reduce your equipment to the minimum. Sort out what you don’t need. Instead of a shoulder bag, you should use a proper camera backpack to evenly distribute the weight on your shoulders. The hiking equipment includes food and drinks, a tripod, camera accessories (batteries, memory cards), various selected lenses and of course the camera. On bad weather days you should not forget the rain cover.

(image credit panoramaleinwand)

When choosing your camera, make sure it is solid, waterproof and dustproof. In addition to the digital SLR camera, compact cameras with a proper zoom range or the so-called bridge cameras (super zoom cameras) are ideal for setting mountains in the right light. To save weight, it is best to leave fixed focal lengths at home and limit yourself to as few lenses as possible. The wide-angle lens (10 to 18 mm) and the standard zoom lens (18 to 105 mm) are recommended.

You can also take various filters with you. The polarization filter, for example, ensures that the colors are displayed better and reduces the influence of haze, while the gray scale filter reduces the difference in brightness between the ground and the sky. In the high mountains, the UV filter can be used.

Avoid the midday sun when planning your day. If necessary, it is advisable to adjust the hiking direction. Before you start your hike, you should check the functionality of your equipment. The batteries should be charged and checked carefully. In addition to replacement batteries, additional memory cards should not be missing.

Tips for the perfect mountain photo

  • Less is often more. Even if nature is overwhelming in all directions, instead of photographing everything you should focus your attention on individual points and consciously limit yourself. Try to capture emotions.
  • Change the position from which you shoot more often. Climb rocks, lie on the ground or squat. But of course you have to pay attention to your safety!
  • Make pictures more interesting through many layers. Use foreground, middle and background.
  • Preferably use the manual focus. Don’t just take wide-angle pictures. Detail shots can also be enchanting.
  • Take pictures with a tripod for a change. Create exposure series from which you can later create HDR images.

Light, lighting conditions, exposure

Work with the three well-known light controls aperture, exposure time and ISO setting.

The aperture regulates the amount of incident light. The larger the f-number, the smaller the aperture and the less light is incident. This affects the depth of field. A small aperture will make some parts of the subject sharper, while others will blur in the background or foreground.

  1. The exposure time, on the other hand, indicates how long light falls on the image sensor. A long exposure time can cause camera shake or subject movement. If you want to freeze a movement, you should use fast shutter speeds.
  2. The ISO value indicates the sensitivity of the image sensor. In low-light conditions, you can increase the ISO to avoid long exposure times. However, you should be careful with the ISO value as too high an ISO value can cause image noise.

When photographing in the mountains, note the “giant softbox” in the shape of the sky. To avoid getting eroded lights, you should always expose to the lights. With digital cameras and snow, you should not expose to the depths. On grey days, use a grey card for white balance. You should also avoid backlighting. It is better to have the sun in your back. You can also use a lens hood. You can also eliminate overexposure by using the snow or beach mode of your camera.

The third rule

The golden section provides a certain division ratio of a distance or surface, which is perceived as pleasant and natural when viewed. The third rule ensures a harmonious distribution of images with tension and movement. For this purpose, the picture is divided horizontally and vertically into equal thirds.

Weight the continent more strongly. For example, place the horizon on the upper horizontal third line. In addition, the sky should not occupy more than one third of the image. Important picture elements are moved from the center and placed at the line intersections. Experiment with the arrangement of the main motif. For example, you should not place actors in the center of the image. In addition, make sure that they move into the image and look into it.

Leading Lines Benefits

Look for diagonal lines. It’s an easy-to-use trick that has a powerful effect. By using distinctive lines, you give the photo a certain dynamism. Since reading from left to right is preferred, it makes sense to start leading lines from the upper or lower left corner of the image. The lines influence the viewer’s gaze and where it ends. Fences or hiking trails are suitable as such lines. If you want to compensate for minor errors such as overexposure or underexposure afterwards, you should take your photos in RAW format. In contrast to JPEG format shots, RAW offers a lot of post-processing potential. You can extract dynamics, contrast and colors from RAW files afterwards. Note that RAW files are larger and you need more storage space.

The mountain tour is already planned, but bad weather is approaching? Don’t let it spoil your mood. Bad weather brings interesting piling cloud formations around mountain massifs.

If the colors come over only weakly due to bad light conditions, you can save the pictures by taking black-and-white pictures from colored pictures. To do this, increase the contrast, reduce the exposure, and raise the white tones.


The high mountains of this world offer incredible photo backdrops at different times of the day and year. Use the Golden Hour for special photos. The time before sunset and after sunrise offers beautiful light shows. As soon as you choose longer exposure times, you should use the tripod.

Different weather conditions create different photo atmospheres. Bad weather brings a certain drama with threatening clouds and striking peaks, while warm afternoon light conjures up harmonious mountain panoramas. Mysterious motifs can be seen on cloudy days. Fog adds to the mysticism.

The most important thing is that you master your camera and the individual tools inside and out. However, this does not only apply to mountain photography. This is the only way to capture atmospheric moments of short duration. Exposure, focusing and image build-up are three factors that have a decisive influence on the photographs. There are no limits to your creativity when photographing mountains. Play with the various parameters and perspectives, but think of your own safety. No photo is worth taking a risk.

Claude Monet – His Life

Claude Oscar Monet was born in Paris on 14 November 1840. He grew up in Le Havre, a town on the north-west coast of France. Monet began painting there. Already at school Monet was known for his caricatures.

Claude Monet later met the canvas dealer Eugène Boudin, who encouraged him to paint outdoors and gradually awakened his passion for outdoor painting. Monet loves nature and the sea.

In 1859 Monet went to Paris, to the Académie Suisse. He met Camille Pissaro there. In 1861 he was obliged to serve in the military for seven years. He fell ill with typhoid fever, however, and in 1862 he terminated his military service for health reasons. He returned to Le Havre to recover. His aunt encouraged him to continue studying art. During this time he met Johan Barthold Jongkind and worked with him. From this time comes the following quotation: “I owe to him the final education of my eye”.

Claude Monet – a new style of art emerges

Due to the Prussian-French war he and Pissaro move to London. Pictures of the Thames and Hyde Park are created. William Turner´s He is strongly impressed by his work. In Paris, together with the artists Pissaro, Bazille, Renoir and Sisley, he formed an artist community that is today regarded as the founder of Impressionism. In 1874, Monet exhibited one of his works in Paris, called “Impression, Sunrise”. This painting, with its extremely strong colours for his time, was considered unfinished by the critics. It was then mockingly called “Impressionism” – based on the title of the picture with the meaning of “unfinished and still raw impression / impression”. This event is regarded as the birth of this new art movement.

The Japanese woodcuts, which arrived in Europe around 1850, had a great influence on Monet’s picture design. Monet’s financial situation is modest at first and for a long time, and the profit from his art is far from sufficient for him to live on. In 1883 Monet presented his works for the first time in an official solo exhibition in London.

Art of Impressionism

In this year he buys from his first financial profits his house in Giverny near Paris and lived there. The flower garden of his house, which he designed down to the smallest detail, became the inspiration for many of his paintings in his last years. Claude Monet suffers from cancer and rheumatism at the end of his life. He could only see very poorly and underwent several operations on his eyes. But he continued to paint until his death on December 6, 1926. Until the end of his life, at the age of 86, he kept his impressionistic style.

Fragments of a Utopia: Mosaics in the Post-Soviet Space

They are monumental, sometimes of a naïve folkloristic nature, and often show exciting abstractions – pictorial works of a vanished era. Lukas Verlag has now published a volume with mosaics that have been used to embellish railway stations, theatres, cinemas, stadiums and bus stops in the republics of the former Soviet Union. Katja Koch and Aram Galstyan set out on an expedition and followed the tracks of these colourful testimonies. Their journey is documented in this incredibly well done illustrated book with very thoughtful texts.

“The mortar that held the Union together was ephemeral. In the mosaics, the spaces in-between appear, like cracks, which precede the later separation.” I find this metaphorical view ingenious and it shows how these works must be viewed today. Because they stand for a very special attitude and deserve our attention. The two authors travelled through Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Georgen, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Belarus. They documented the partly forgotten mosaics and spoke with contemporary witnesses. Thus the book became a valuable store of knowledge.

Monumental facade mosaics

Today, the often monumental facade mosaics in the successor states of the USSR have become shop windows of a bygone world: Cosmonauts, pioneers and collective farmers illustrate the universe of state-controlled Soviet life. But above all at the edges of the former giant empire, creatively coded signs of resistance against Moscow’s centralism can also be seen. Unfortunately, most of the artworks are threatened by vandalism, decay or demolition. All the more reason to pay tribute to the work of Katja Koch and Aram Galstyan, who are protecting this cultural heritage from oblivion.

On 288 pages, the book shows over 500 illustrations and is published in two languages. The mere subdivision into the chapters “Work”, “Education”, “Bus stops”, “Culture, leisure and recreation”, “Public space and public buildings” and “Housing” makes clear the spectrum that these artistic disputes covered. The authors should be highly credited for having endeavoured to determine the author and year of origin of each mosaic. It was almost impossible to record them all.

When looking through the pictures, one notices that, in addition to all the socialist realism to which the artists also had to submit, a very individual pictorial language has nevertheless emerged. For example, the authors were told an interesting anecdote about the mosaic in the laboratory of the Bishkek State University. There the artist Satar Aitijews had created the “Path of Enlightenment”. “At its unveiling, as contemporary witnesses recall, there was general amazement at how this work had been able to pass through state control, since its pictorial language was completely different from what was considered opportune.

And so, while reading the book, I not only indulged in my mosaic enthusiasm, but also learned a lot of interesting facts from the many small states of the former Soviet Union, which each have so much to tell for themselves.

From Cellini to #Metoo: A Replica

It was one of those experiences of reading that excited me so much that my Saturday awakening process was significantly shortened: Benvenuto Cellini, a representative of Mannerism, could be regarded as a prototype role model for artists in the Spacey category, according to Kia Vahland in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in an article. The feuilletonist short-circuit takes place by means of a concise thesis between papal Rome and the Hollywood of today. On the one hand, it thus provides a quasi-explanation of the current #Metoo debate, but on the other hand it unrestrainedly serves clichés.

Cellinis autobiography

In his autobiography, written from 1557, Cellini likes fantasies of omnipotence, ranging from violent assaults to multiple murders. In particular, he tortured and raped his model, Caterina. Historical sources confirm the assaults just as they show that Cellini was protected by the authorities and therefore had no legal consequences to fear. In my opinion, the connection between events of the early modern period and those of the present is problematic.

This is how the author writes

“This disgusting package from the Italian late Renaissance has some part in the modern idea that genius and crime condition each other.

The article also mixes the fundamentally different spheres of the film industry and the art world under the general topos of artistry. I find it unlikely that actors like Spacey have dealt with their role as artists in the context of their assaults. Nor do I think that the Cellini biography played a concrete role in this, as the article suggests.

I would also like to argue against the subsequent criminalization of an entire profession. In the course of the late 19th century, several links were established between mental illness, crime and the practice of art. This argumentation was reflected not least in the corresponding court proceedings handed down from the 1910s and 1920s. Several proceedings were brought against Otto Dix, for example, for “obscenity and immorality”. These trials fuelled a media debate in which the artists were criminalized. At the same time, they devoted themselves to the abysmal spheres of crime, the milieu, and the demimonde. At the same time, the art of the mentally ill and the art of children are being upgraded, which in turn influences the artists.

Looking at the exhibition and the action “Degenerate Art”, it is striking that the supposed danger is a main argument against incriminated art. Scandalous works from the 1920s are updated again. All that is inscrutable is expelled from art, while at the same time the cult of genius is promoted.

The cult around the – male – genius is a child of Romanticism, which is established in the 19th century and constantly reactivated. It was none other than Goethe who discovered the Cellini biography, translated it into German and thus introduced it into the discourse here. The artist’s autobiography was not published until the 17th century, for the author did not want to bear witness to himself during his lifetime as openly as it would appear afterwards.

With books like Cesare Lombroso’s Genio e Follia, the abysmal side of genius is emphasized. Artists like Vincent van Gogh, who were in psychiatric treatment during his lifetime, seem to confirm Lombroso’s thesis of the proximity of genius and madness.

I would like to refer to van Gogh’s choleric temperament

Violent clashes and even self-mutilation have been reported. The reason for the dispute, which ended with the famous cut-off ear, was the confrontation with Paul Gauguin in the artist’s flat in the south of France. While the commune failed, the latter left his family in Paris to live with underage girls in Tahiti. The suspicion of paedophilia also comes to the fore with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. A more recent example is the Muehl-Kommune, in which systematic abuse was carried out, which would eventually have legal consequences.

Power dispositives are currently being negotiated in the #Metoo debate. Sexual harassment is rarely about sex, even less about eroticism, not about entering into relationships, but about the exercise and abuse of power. However, this constellation is cross-industry. Cellini and Gauguin exercised power over young models who were not socially equal to them.

It is true that the institutions that present art usually tend to ignore this sociological context and focus on the ideological content of the works. The artistic work is often viewed in isolation. Kia Vahland argues that the sphere of the exercise of art should not be regarded as a lawless space:

“Perhaps criminals, whether artists or not, should be judged with a legal sense of proportion. And don’t symbolically cut off their heads, as Cellinis Perseus does with the Medusa in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. But to give them, like everyone else, a fair trial.”

In a liberal society with a functioning legal system, however, this should not be up for discussion. The question arises, however, what are the consequences of a critical view of art? Whether forms of censorship are the right way remains to be doubted – Vahland also pleads against it. But it is precisely this process of extinction that manifests itself in Kevin Spacey’s artistic identity, which by no means proves to be inviolable. More than Weinstein, who is a doer in the background, the person Spacey, who is a projection screen for the audience, is suitable as a target.

In contrast to historical incidents, only the current allegations of abuse are justiciable

A subsequent judgement seems problematic to me, since one has to get along with limited facts of the historical tradition. I plead for a differentiated evaluation and consideration of the individual case. It is precisely in the historical perspective that the historical anchoring and latency of patriarchal systems can be seen, on which contemporary society still has to work off.

#Metoo makes exactly that clear. The debate illuminates all facets of sexualized assaults, including violence. It shows how deeply sexist attitudes are anchored in our society. Despite all moral arrogance, the art world is characterized by chauvinism. Therefore, the primary task is to deal with the current problems. Historical perspectives can be illuminating, but they can also distract.