covenant of pathos

Stuck for a day in Chicago, I wandered over to The Art Institute of Chicago. (Not that anyone had to twist my arm. We're talking about visiting one of the great museums of the world.) In the Modern wing I happened upon an unattractive though clearly expressionistic portrait by Ludwig Meidner. The label stated this:

Though perhaps best known for his visionary, apocalyptic landscapes, Ludwig Meidner, like many German Expressionists, used portraiture to explore the inner emotional life of his subjects. "Do not be afraid of the face of a human being," Meidner once said. "Don’t let your pen stop until the soul of that one opposite you is wedded to yours in a covenant of pathos." In addition to making self-portraits, Meidner painted many of Berlin’s literati, including the Expressionist poet and theater critic Max Herrmann-Neisse. The artist used the thick paint, energetic brushwork, and distorted form characteristic of Expressionist painting to communicate his subject’s inner vitality and psychological life.

No comments: