Skylark Books


Rudolf Steiner Blackboard Drawings 1919-1924 - 120 lecture illustrations in colour

Rudolf Steiner Blackboard Drawings 1919 –1924
edited by Walter Kugler with contributions by
Taja Gut, Martina Maria Sam & Wolfgang Zumdick

Rudolf Steiner spoke freely during his many lectures, using only minimal notes. But when explaining conceptually difficult subject matter he frequently resorted to illustrating what he was saying with coloured chalks on a large blackboard. After the lecture the drawings were rubbed out and thus irretrievably lost - but not in every case. From the autumn of 1919 onwards, thick black paper was used to cover the blackboards so that the drawings could be rolled up and stored.

This collection of Rudolf Steiner's blackboard drawings  comprises 120 colour plates, including for each illustration, the relevant excerpt from the associated lecture. There is also a comprehensive history and background to the illustrations describing their original production and exploring their continuing power as both artistic and illustrative images of the spiritual dynamics which Steiner sought to convey to his audiences.

The trustees of Steiner's estate at Dornach, Switzerland, possess over 1000 of these drawings which visually document his creative way of thinking and his view of the world. A selection of the drawings was first shown to a wider public in 1992, and since then numerous exhibitions in Europe, America and Japan have generated much interest in his works.

“Whether it be a crystal's outline, or a plant's or a beehive's, whether circles and surfaces are layered one upon another, whether the concepts are those of sodium and lead, of commodities and labour, of Saturn or Imagination: each concept, each word, each symbol finds its place with utmost concentration and exciting accuracy in Steiner's blackboard drawings. Attention is alerted, lines of interaction arise between image and observer allowing contacts and involvements to come into play. The messages emerging from infinite darkness in lines, spirals and circles or in coloured surfaces that open up or delineate vast spaces, and also those arising from the ever new meanings in the networked interplay of words, all these strike deep into the optic nerve and settle firmly in one's visual memory. At work here was an archaeologist of thoughts, an encyclopedist of the unusual phrase, a master of line and colour. Noth­ing in these images happens by chance, but neither is anything indis­pensable. The things simply exist, they are there occupying one's retina, and bringing into motion whatever had a moment ago seemed ossified and congealed: ‘A floating, poetic appreciation of art more than a little reminiscent of Cy Twombly,’ commented Günter Metken, astonished and touched at the exhibition of the drawings in Frankfurt's Portikus.

Now scattered upon the blackness, now emerging from the dark background, there appears before the viewer of these thought-pictures the universe in all its wholeness, the whence and whither of human life and meaning in ever-changing configurations. A white blob depicts the fall of Ephesus, a dot and a circle conjure up the ever-present tension ­field uniting God and human being. Regiments of numbers decode the mysteries of human evolution, making visible conditions created by hu­manity for itself over long millennia or drawing attention to calculable and incalculable elements that have been mutating back and forth between heaven and earth, between 'up there' and 'down here'.

These blackboard drawings readjust the globe. Things that have hitherto been 'scientifically' assured or counted as immutable in every­day life are given an almighty shove, while others that have been alarm­ingly unstable are brought to rest, thus becoming points of departure for a journey into intimate and unknown depths. Having passed along the sequence of pictures and left it behind one finds that everything has changed. No matter whether this is art or non-art: the images have set something in motion; that is all.”                                                        -Walter Kugler Cosmic Poetry


200pp: paperback 26 X 24.5 cm, with120 colour plates
ISBN: 1 85584 152 5




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