newly translated interview with prominent WW II German Sculptor
November 6, 2006 1:02 PM   Subscribe

The Monumental is My Sickness: a newly translated 1979 interview with German sculptor Arno Breker. Extremely revealing about art, memory, Nazism, and the troubling life story of "Hitler's Favourite Sculptor". For context, read this critical review of a recent exhibition of Breker's work. More Arno Breker resources, including many photos: (in French); the museum of Arno Breker (in German); Wikipedia entry. via
posted by Rumple (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mostly am familiar with Breker because of his work with Yukio Mishima.
posted by absalom at 1:42 PM on November 6, 2006

Why am I not surprised he associated himself with Mishima...birds of a feather. I loved this interview, it was combative and illuminating. They also have an interview with Neo Rauch, one of my favorite artists.
posted by Falconetti at 2:42 PM on November 6, 2006

Yep, that was the best interview I've read in a long time. And I do love me a good interview. Fascinating stuff, thanks Rumple.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:24 PM on November 6, 2006

When I was recently in Rome the statues by Bernini did not strike me as terribly different from Breker; Brekers statues have just a little more bloated muscles, they are a little more preposterously virile and adamant. But not a lot.
posted by jouke at 11:24 PM on November 6, 2006

Two things stand out (for me) in the interview. One: Breker's not-so-subtle blaming of Speer for the monumental grotesqueries of the Third Reich. (Speer himself blames their monstrous proportions on Hitler.) Two: Breker seems to attribute the squared, stiff poses of his figures to Northern tradition: "...the kind of relaxed stance we find among the Italians, it never existed among northern peoples. Christianity expunged the motif of the supporting and non-supporting leg, because it called the worldly sphere into doubt, transporting it to another plane. " He does not explain why he felt the necessity to carry on this medieval concept. The "supporting and non-supporting leg" rehanchement is, according to Kenneth Clark, the design basis for nude sculpture in the West. Comparing Bernini and Breker, the Baroque and the neo-Gothic, is interesting up to a point. They are both flamboyant but Breker could never have done anything as delicious as this.
posted by CCBC at 3:33 PM on November 7, 2006

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