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Title:Max Beckmann's paintings on biblical themes, 1906-1918
Author(s):Chung, Young Mok
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Franciscono, Marcel
Department / Program:Art Education
Discipline:Art Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fine Arts
Abstract:This thesis endeavors to demonstrate the importance that religious themes played in Max Beckmann's early art and thought by examining over eighteen works in which he treated subjects from the Bible and by analyzing his writings for his religious thought. Its goal is twofold: to place Beckmann's early religious paintings within the context of religious art in the last decade of Wilhelmine Germany and during the First World War, and to define its significance within the context of his artistic development. Beckmann's Biblical themes form a major part of his early works, and incorporate in a particularly clear manner many of the metaphysical themes that he develops in his later work.
This research surveys the historical context and outlines the nature of religious thinking in Wilhelmine Germany. It is also concerned with Beckmann's religious thought through the analysis of his diaries, letters, and other writings. That thought is viewed from two perspectives: (1) those aspects--his philosophical approach in general and the influence on him of Nietzsche in particular--which are important in Beckmann's religious thought; (2) those aspects--his psychological approach in general and the implications of the war and his reactions of it--which appear decisive for the changes in Beckmann's religious thought and art.
The remainder of this dissertation examines the formal character and iconography of Beckmann's paintings on Biblical themes. These are studied chronologically along with the sources that affected the artist's changing interests and development.
From the early 1930s on, Beckmann's religious imagery became more ambiguous and esoteric than before. He selected and combined ideas from different systems of thought, in the process of finding philosophical parallels and visual analogies. Beckmann's ultimate goal was not to seek for truth in the traditional doctrines of Christianity but in the "self." In conjunction with these aspects, my dissertation concludes with consideration of Beckmann's last three paintings on Biblical themes as they relate to his earlier works.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Chung, Young Mok
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9114206
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9114206

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