THE powerful expression of THE powerful expression of
violent feeling springing from a profound religious faith is rare in our century of uncertainty and doubt. Such intensity emerges in Germany in the Expressionist paintings of such artists as Emil Nolde and Lovis Corinth, hut over this feeling has crept a heavy ponderousness and the pictures of Nolde remind us today of the peasant art of the medieval woodcarver, clumsy. a little coarse in execution and rather obvious in sentiment BUT both Nolde and his BUT both Nolde and his friend Christian Rohlfs discovered a release from their sombreness through colour. Nolde uses his colour with the utmost prodigality, pouring the richest tones in streams over his canvases. charging his subjects with a fiery spirit and endowing objects with symbolic importance. The religious pictures of this artist, and to a lesser extent those of Rohlfs which partake more of the dream world than those of his friend. are strongly human. There is nothing re mote and everything is elemental about Nolde's vision. In his "Adoration of the Kings" the Madonna is an ordinary. homely Jewish woman gazing with adoration upon her Child -the epitome of motherliness. And if the kings are unreal fairy-talc figures with all the glitter that goes with the fairytale (the black king has a magnificent golliwog face) at least the cherubs, who are falling over themselves in their excitement to see the Christ-child, are the crudest of little boys of the neighbourhood endowed with brilliant blue eyes and flaming hair.
HERE is a barbaric enthusiast a at boiling point. playing with colour. "Colours with a life of their own," writes the artist, "laughing and crying, happy and dreamy, burning and holy. like love-songs . . . like melodies and magnificent chorales. Colours that vibrate like silver and bronze hells, heralding happiness. passion and love, spirit. blood and death."
by Fr. W. J. Randall