Der Zuschauer

A Journal of Essays and Reportage on Drama, History, and Literature

Archive for December 2008

Blizzare in New England

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Written by herrdramaturg

December 31, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Rhyparographer, or, The Dirt Painter

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One of the themes in Peter Weiss’ The Aesthetics of Resistance, is the question of why the working class is nowhere present in painting until the 19th century. Otherwise only as seen in the background, sidebar, or foreground but never central in focus. He writes about Menzel, Munch’s Workers Returning from the Factory, also Goya, Gericault, Delacroix. One wishes one could ask Weiss about Bregel and/or Bosch. Perhaps we have forgotten something in reading that demanding novel. There is an englished version of Volume One published by Duke University. We suggest you skip the preface by Fredrich Jameson. We are continuing on in the German.

But what occasioned these remarks was a paragraph we came across in Lessing’s Laocoon: An Essay upon the limits of Painting and Poetry. Suggesting the Greeks are right in demanding with civil law that all imitation in painting should surpass its models in nature and be more beautiful, he then goes on to discuss two bad boys of Greek painting.

“They had such painters, but meted out to them strict justice. Pauson, who confined himself to the beauties of ordinary nature, and whose depraved taste liked to represent the imperfections and deformities of humanity, lived in the most abandoned poverty; and Pyreicus, who painted barber’s rooms, dirty workshops, donkeys, and kitchen herbs with all the diligence of a Dutch painter, as if such things were rare or attractive in nature, acquired the surname of Rhyparographer, the dirt-painter. The rich voluptuaries, indeed, paid for his works their weight in gold as if by this fictitious valuation to atone for their insignificance.”

Laocoon, Chapter Two

Written by herrdramaturg

December 30, 2008 at 9:29 am

We Lose Lions

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Written by herrdramaturg

December 26, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Marshmellows on Guam Island

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Written by herrdramaturg

December 22, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Upon the Scholar as opposed to the Academic

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Dr. Johnson, in his Rasselas, has Imlac say “To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear, to inquire, is the business of a scholar.”

Written by herrdramaturg

December 20, 2008 at 9:40 am

Der Deutschen Frau

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Written by herrdramaturg

December 20, 2008 at 8:26 am

Christian Grabbe Never Rests

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Written by herrdramaturg

December 20, 2008 at 8:17 am

Posted in Correspondence, Inanities

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