Edward von Steinle and Leopold Bode
7 / 4 / – 30 / 6 / 2019
Poetry and painting, words and pictures stand in a charged relationship to each other, and the issue as to whether the two sister arts are conducive to each other or perhaps more of a hindrance was responded to quite differently by artists and critics. Edward von Steinle (1810–1886) and his student Leopold Bode (1831–1906) were among those painters who, like poets, were "permeated with a poetic spirit" and whose works of art had something to relate to the viewer.
Steinle, born in Vienna in 1810, formed his artistic character in the circle of the Nazarenes in Rome whose ideals he remained loyal to throughout his life: the renewal of painting within the spirit of Christianity. From 1839 he lived in Frankfurt am Main where he held a professorship at the Städel Art Institute from 1850 onwards. Stylistically he oriented himself to German Renaissance painting and the art of the Rinascimento italiano, and among his most famous works were the frescoes in the first Wallraf Richartz Museum in Cologne and in Cologne Cathedral. As a deeply religious Catholic Steinle held the view that the visual arts should primarily serve religion, but following his encounter with the writer Clemens Brentano he became susceptible to themes from Romantic poetry. Until his death in 1886 he was considered the last important representative of Nazarene monumental painting. One of Steinle's students was Leopold Bode, born in Offenbach am Main in 1831. As the son of a painter who had learned from the renowned artist Peter Cornelius, he was familiar from the time of his youth with the late Romantic-Nazarene conception of art that shaped his work until his death in 1906. Bode painted portraits and historical paintings which he successfully showed in exhibitions, some of which also found their way into Paris and London collections. A special focus in the work of both artists are paintings and cycles of pictures based on poems, myths and legends taken from the Middle Ages up until Romanticism. Steinle and Bode occasionally painted large-format, multi-part works on these themes, which, splendidly framed, were acquired by the nobility and wealthy bourgeoisie. They are among the most beautiful works created by these artists, and were particularly admired by Adolf Friedrich von Schack, a connoisseur from Munich who purchased several paintings from both artists for his collection.
The exhibition for the first time brings together the preserved myth and legend paintings of Steinle and Bode, presenting them in eight thematic sections. It begins with Clemens Brentano, whose romantic fairy tales and stories formed the earliest literary motifs in the oeuvre of both artists, and ends with Wolfram von Eschenbach's medieval "Parzival" epic to which Steinle and Bode dedicated their last works.
The exhibition project was realised in cooperation with the Schack Collection in Munich. Many outstanding loans from the collections of this museum supplement and enrich the exhibition. The Neuss exhibition is dedicated to another important chapter: the extensive and sustained impact of the two artists in the Rhineland. Numerous works were created from the Middle Rhine Valley to Cologne, some of which are still preserved today. The artistic activity of both artists can also still be traced in Neuss: the original window designs by Steinle for the church of St. Stephanus in Neuss-Grefrath have been lavishly restored and can now be seen for the first time in the Clemens Sels Museum Neuss.
supported by in cooperation with
Die Form wahren
Skulptures by Josef Neuhaus
24 / 2 – 16 / 6 / 2019
Feld-Haus - Museum für Populäre Druckgrafik
Berger Weg 5, Neuss (auf dem KirkebyFeld zwischen Museum Insel Hombroich und Raketenstation Hombroich)