How Nietzsche and Apollinaire changed the architecture Part 1

Biology, philosophy, poetry, and other passions of architects in the late XIX — early XX century. “Enough… I want to construct natural bodies!” — wrote artist and architect El Lissitzky in 1924. In the late XIX — early XX century in search of inspiration, the architects considered the most unexpected subjects, including the field of new philosophical and scientific theories. To know what books influenced architects, exploring their library.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, an author of building Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in new York, left an exceptionally rich architectural heritage. However, often his name is associated with the “Prairie architecture” — direction, popular in the United States at the turn of XIX and XX centuries. A low oblong building like growing out of endless expanses of the North American plains. Apart from nature, on this architectural school was influenced by the romantic idea 1880-90-ies, who came to America from Europe.

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In the library of Wright was kept the famous edition of the poems of the English artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti was published in 1886 in two volumes in dark brown cover with gold lettering. Rossetti is the founder of the “Brotherhood of pre-Raphaelites” returning to the origins of the sincere art of the Early Italian Renaissance in contrast to the rigid academicism — admired heroic restraint and sublime simplicity of medieval images. Appeal to past eras meant a return to Christian values of the middle Ages.

These ideas were picked up by the Movement of arts and crafts, United in 1880-ies the British artists, architects, and philosophers. To save traditional crafts from a mass production factory, all around, the leaders of the movement — artists William Morris, Walter crane, Arthur McMurdo — he called for honesty, clarification of art. These ideas were close and Wright. At this time, visiting him often came Charles Robert Ashby English architect, a member of the Movement of arts and crafts. Friends Wright and Elbert Hubbard — one of the main popularizers of the ideas of Morris and a founder of the Roycroft art of the commune (in 1904-1905 Wright designed in Buffalo the home of his sister, Mary).

While Chicago was a city of skyscrapers, Wright was passionate about finding unexpected spatial and decorative solutions. The free internal layout allows to create a dynamic composition; the use of local materials (local wood, limestone, sand) — textured expressive techniques. Wright carefully selected for its Bureau, carpenters, masons, glass art, specialises in metal processing, acquiring the ability to monitor all parts of the architectural project and creating the perfect artwork. Contemporaries recalled how Wright got irritated working on the project of the building for the Larkin soap company: “these clerks” allowed me to order some items of interior decoration and equipment, in violation of its General plan, if we’re dealing with “another one of their factory buildings.”

“Thus spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche

German architect Peter Behrens historians call the founder of modern architecture. In his workshop at the beginning of career worked and Le Corbusier, and Walter Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe. Sam Behrens started his career in 1890-ies — the heyday of art Nouveau.

Like many other architects of the secession, Peter Behrens was influenced by the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, especially his novel “thus spoke Zarathustra. A book for all and none for whom”, published in 1883-1885 years. In addition to General reflections about the nature of artistic will and creativity, attention Behrens drew the image of the Holy light, a symbol of the vital transformation that gives life. As the source of this light was meant crystal — the personification of strength and absolute power. In the novel, Nietzsche mentions the dialogue of the coal and the diamond, alluding to this state required to convert to a new life. “Why so hard! once said charcoal to diamond. <…> — Why so soft? <…> But if you don’t want to be fatal and inflexible — how can you ever with me — to win?”

In 1902 Behrens creates a binding of a copy of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and prepares the exhibition of the German pavilion at the International exhibition of modern decorative art in Turin. The entire lobby of the pavilion was designed by Behrens as a paraphrase of the last Chapter of the novel called “the Sign”, in which Zarathustra, shining out of the cave. The hall resembled a dark cold cave with stalactites. And only in the upper part of the arch was set a stained glass window through which the room was pouring the day cleansing light.

A year before the Turin exhibition, 15 may 1901 in Darmstadt inaugurated the artists’ colony. The culmination of the opening ceremony called “the Sign” was the release of the Golden portal of the actor in the costume of a prophet, revealing to the audience a secret sign — great crystal or gemstone (Edelstein). The poster Behrens depicted a priestess with a crystal in his hands. In interior design you can also notice a ceremonial figure, bearing crystals. Later Behrens continued to use images of crystal and lights, gradually turning them into more geometrical ornamental motifs.

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The Writings Of Guillaume Apollinaire

In 1919 the architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (not yet who took the pseudonym Le Corbusier) and the painter amédée the Ozanfanom begin publishing the journal L’esprit nouveau. “A new spirit” — a program of art and life of the coming machine age. The title of the journal and Ozanfanom Jeanneret borrowed from Guillaume Apollinaire. November 26, 1917, the poet gave a lecture “the New spirit and the poets” — “L’esprit nouveau et des poètes”. The text of the speech was published a year later when Apollinaire had died.

The works of Apollinaire gave a full theoretical justification of the new trends in art. In the “Artists-Cubists” he formulates the main principles of artistic creativity — the need for clarity and unification of visual and acoustic phenomena of the modern world. A perfect symbol of creative ways to Apollinaire was the tragic fate of the mythical singer and musician Orpheus. Speaking about the work of his friend the artist Hubert Robert Delaunay, Apollinaire uses the term “morphism”. First and foremost is the theoretical concept of Apollinaire, in which he drew attention to the alternative possibility of displaying the visible world: “New artists attacked the geometry, the science of space in the Euclidean sense, comprehending the fourth dimension”.

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