lunedì 22 luglio 2013


(part 2)

In the Germanisches Nationalmuseum I first passed through the oldes part, starting from the prehistory (incl. neanderthal sculls). Perhaps the most famous item from the “prehistory” is the 3000 year-old Ezelsdorf-Buch golden cone that is said to be a hat – although to be precise, it must have been the upper decoration of the hat. It is made of thin gold foil with geometrical patterns and it was said to have been recovered from just 80 cm below the surface by a worker. It seemed to have been quite intact, but during the recovery it was damaged, so that it needed restoration. It is supposed to have belonged to a sun-priest.
I went throroughly through the oldest part up to the end of the Middle Ages. There were several precious items from all periods, e.g. a certain type of roman helmet that is said to be just one of two exemplars found, beautiful early middle-ages bible-boxes and crosses, manuscripts. I especially appreciated a collection of wooden madonnas, that one could see quite closely and who had all different expressions – that are not similar to those we have been used to from later canons from renaissance onwards. At the same time funny, humorous, warm, proud. They didn’t seem to be some male-dominated females with no independence, dissolving into their role of theotokos, kind of abstract, plödi, sugary, lacrimous, irreal figures. But women proud of themselves and of their child.
There were other interesting statues and also some altar-pieces (e.g. one depicting the scene of cutting the ear – not the most common subject from the NT).
Then my time was running short, as we had to go to Monika’s sisters’ place. I decided to jump to the other extreme of time, i.e. 20 century. I just had a glimpse of the pieces of Dürer (who lived in Nuremberg) and a collection of scetches of Rembrandt, but I had no time to focus myself on them. The collection of renaissance and baroque art covered a huge area. I had to choose.
And so I jumped to the 20th century. The collection was not too big, so that I could hurriedly skim it though. There were interesting things, starting from the expressionism and new objectivity. Hannah Höch. Also furniture design was included. A couple of pieces from Nazi period (similar to the “social realism” of the Soviet Union). I suspect that some pieces from the post-war period were due to some compulsion and to my mind were not worth this collection (eg. a huge blue bomber over the houses, dull representative art with no deeper inner working of the material, just presenting the traumatic experience; but brute trauma or just a sentiment or just a representation is not art, or is bad art).
One piece struck me: a big neon-pink (darker hue) circle with neon orange-red background. A glow of pure intensity.
Making my way hastily towards the exit I had to pass between napoleonic cannons.
Actually the museum is (partly) situated in a 14. century monastery. It must have been abandoned long ago, since this region is Protestant (in the generally Catholic South). A large number of hugenottes were transferred to this region when their rights were revoked in France; in Erlangen there is until these days a Hugenottenkirche and Hugenottenplatz.

From the darker side of history, in connection with Nuremberg one cannot avoid talking about nazism. Already in 1298 there was the first pogromme where 600 Jews were killed. In Nazi times Nuremberg was the place of the famous rallies and it was the “most German” of German towns.
The city was bombarded heavily by the Allies and it was occupied only at the very end of the war, 17. of April 1945, after a fierce street-to-street battle. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to visit the Documentation Museum (about the Nazi period) – which would have complemented my visit to the Nanjing massacre museum (and many years ago to the Khatyn memorial).

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