Ernst Barlach - Christusmaske VI (Christ Mask VI), 1931

Bronze

15 x 12 cm
5 x 4 inch

Numbered with monogram under the chin "EB 10/11"

N 9439

About the work

Several detail studies of the face originated while Barlach was working on the work “Lehrender Christus (Christ Teaching)” in 1931. With the archaically stylised form in the version “Christusmaske VI”, the artist found a satisfactory form and the final version. The face seems enraptured and meditative. At the same time, the slightly open mouth of the bearded man conveys the impression of an address, which enlivens the represented figure. Barlach’s Christ thus bears an expression that is as supratemporal and transcendent as it is this-worldly. In his representation, the artist combines the supernatural, because stylised Son of God, with the attribute of the this-worldly teacher, thus creating a modern image of Christ. “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ.” (Matthew 23, 10) One of the total of fourteen posthumous castings of “Lehrender Christus“ is found in the Antoniterkirche in Cologne, together with the second casting of Barlach’s “Güstrower Ehrenmal (Gustrow Cenotaph)”, also referred to as the “Schwebender” (floating one), and a replica of “Kruzifix II (Crucifix II)”, created in 1918.
His artist colleague Käthe Kollwitz accurately summarised the extraordinary and to the present day fascinating nature of Barlach’s work in 1938 on the occasion of his death: “Form and content merged. That is what makes his art convincing.“
(cited from: Frank Pergande, Bildnis des Künstlers als Ekel, Frankfurter Allgemeine, FAZ net, updated on 6.2.2020)
Over the course of his life, Barlach produced around 2,000 drawings, 450 sculptures and 100 sketchbooks, as well as countless lithographies and woodcut prints. He died in the St. Georg-Klinik in Rostock at the age of 68 following a heart attack and was buried in Ratzeburg next to his father.

Text authored and provided by Dr Andrea Fink, art historian

The art historian, curator and freelance publicist Andrea Fink studied art history, cultural studies and humanities, modern history and philosophy in Bochum and Vienna. Doctorate in 2007 on the work of the Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay. As a freelance curator and art consultant, her clients include, among others, the Kunstverein (art association) Ahlen, Kunstverein Soest, Wella Museum, Museum am Ostwall Dortmund, ThyssenKrupp AG, Kulturstiftung Ruhr, Osthaus Museum Hagen, Franz Haniel GmbH, Kunsthalle Krems, Austria.

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Ernst Barlach, Christ Mask VI, 1931, 15 x 12 cm, N 9439
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