Ernst Barlach:
Sculpture "Reading Monks III" (1932), Reduction in Bronze

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Ernst Barlach:
Sculpture "Reading Monks III" (1932), Reduction in Bronze

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ars mundi special edition | Limited, 980 copies | Numbered | Signature | Foundry stamp | Certificate | Bronze | Patinated | Reduction | Format 22 x 16,5 x 14 cm (H/W/D) | Weight 4,2 kg

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Ernst Barlach: Sculpture "Reading Monks III" (1932), Reduction in Bronze

Barlach, the main representative of the German expressionism, is famous for his wood and bronze plastics. The topic of monks, busy with reading, interested the artist in 1921. In his bronze work from 1932, which followed the wooden version, he strengthened the image through the reduction the expressiveness of the linear drapery, as he welded the block of the sitters together.

The art of the 14th-century Florence and the sculptures and paintings of Master Bertram (1345 - 1415), which has been decorating the altar of the Hamburg Kunsthalle since 1379, influenced the development of Barlach's narrative skills. His new vision tried to regain this fundamental power. The wooden version was ridiculed by the national socialists in 1937 in Munich in the exhibition "Degenerate Art." Barlach's work survived, spread over the world and was presented in the most famous collections.

Sculpture “Reading Monks III”:
Carried by compassion and social commitment, Barlach's creative power leads to concentration and internalization. The fugitive treatment of his surfaces, in connection with the folding energy, is like the in- and out- breath, and vital cohesion.

The round, which opens in the sculpture from the head of the left monk over his shoulder and arm to the open book, is forwarded to the arm of the right one and closes in the shoulder and head tilt. This circle contains the communication between the individuals and the book. They have read and understood. In the admonishing silence, outside the fleeting process of life, they have found a peace.

The fine nuances of the designed balance are visible in the folded hands of the right monk, which hover like a symbol from the bowl like folds. The work of Barlach turns into the mouth of the truth.

“I recommend this work as a prominent time document, which can make us think. Its great potential today shows us the way to the wisdom of human existence through the trendy and trivial sensations of everyday life. It helps us ask questions, recognize, find keys to self-discovery. "The Reading Monks III" gives us an example. It expresses the discourse and peace that comes from books. Joy and depth of understanding of the world can arise from a poem like from this sculpture. In his forms Barlach gives us a part of the endless connection of the creation, conditions, approaching the sense of life. That is the religion of his art, love.” (Dr. Friedhelm Haering, Museum Director a. D. and Curator)

Sculpture in fine bronze, cast by hand in lost wax casting technique and patinated. The form was directly taken from the original and reduced (reduction). Limited edition 980 copies, each numbered and with a signature “E. Barlach,” taken from the original, and punched with a foundry stamp. Sculpture in fine bronze, cast by hand in lost wax casting technique and patinated. ars mundi special edition. With a numbered authenticity certificate and limitation certificate. Format 22 x 16,5 x 14 cm (H/W/D), weight 4,2 kg.ment

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1870-1938, Sculptor, writer and artist

Ernst Barlach was born on January 2,1870 in Wedel and died on August 24, 1938 in Rostok. He took the outstanding position in the German expressionism. As a graphic, painter and a writer and especially as an architect Barlach created the mileposts of the history of arts. The plastic works of Barlach search for the borderline experience and its expression and the special effect of his works lies in that. These are works of the multilayered meaning, in which the knowledge of a human is put in the foreground, what stands over “me” and “things” of the world.

The intention of Barlach roots in the deep, in something inner. He underwent the war and the difficult living conditions and experienced suffering and happiness. And also in the center of his creation there stands a human: Ecce homo.

“I request nothing else as bad and right to be an artist. This is my belief that everything that is not expressed through the work, through forms can pass in the sphere of something different. My desire and creative impulse circle round the problem of the sense of life and the other great mountains of the spiritual area.” (Ernst Barlach)

In 1925 Ernst Barlach became the member of the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. In 1933 he became a member of the Peace Class of the military order "Pour le Mérite". In 1937 the national socialists declined his works as the “degraded art” at all the open collections and places. On October 24, 1938 Ernst Barlach died in Rostok. Today the works of Ernst Barlach became a tight part of the leading museums and collections and achieved – where available – the auction records.

“The Singing Man” was the most famous statue of Ernst Barlach, an icon of modern. He decorated the book illustrations and posters, the early edition is the important part of collections in the great museums of the world, e.g. the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

Designation for an art object (sculpture, installation), which is produced according to the will of the artist in multiple copies in a limited and numbered edition.

Artist's multiple contributed to "democratization" of art as the work was made available and affordable for a wider audience.

A plastic work of sculptural art made of wood, stone, ivory, bronze or other metals.

While sculptures from wood, ivory or stone are made directly from the block of material, for bronze casting a working model is prepared at first. Usually it is made of clay or other easily shaped materials.

The prime time of sculpture after the Roman antiquity was the Renaissance. Impressionism gave a new impulse to the sculptural arts. Also the contemporary artists, such as Jorg Immendorf, Andora, and Markus Lupertz enriched the sculpture with outstanding works.

An alloy of copper with other metals (especially with tin) used since ancient times.

Bronze casting:

When casting bronze, artist usually applies the lost-wax technique which is dating back more than 5000 years. It's the best, but also the most complex method of producing sculptures.

Sculpture "The Book Reader" by Ernst Barlachs is shown here as an example:

Ernst Barlach: Sculpture 'The book reader'

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 1

First, the artist forms a model of his sculpture. It is embedded in a liquid silicone rubber composition. Once the material has solidified, the model is cut out. The liquid wax is poured in the negative mould. After cooling down, the wax casting is removed from the mould, provided with sprues and dipped into ceramic mass. The ceramic mass is hardened in a kiln, and the wax flows out (lost mould).

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 2Now we finally have the negative form, into which the 1400 ° C hot molten bronze is poured. After the bronze had cooled down, the ceramic shell is broken off and the sculpture comes to light.

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 3Now the sprues are removed, the surfaces are polished, patinated and numbered by the artist himself or, to his specifications, by a specialist. Thus, each casting becomes an original work

For lower-grade bronze castings, the sand casting method is often used which, however, does not achieve the results of more complex lost wax technique in terms of surface characteristics and quality.

Related links:
Sand casting

Graphic or sculpture edition that was initiated by ars mundi and is available only at ars mundi or at distribution partner licensed by ars mundi.