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Lourdes Cathedral

Suermondt Ludwig Museum, Aix-la-Chapelle, Allemagne

Heinrich Davringhausen

(1894 - 1970)

Date : 1916 | Medium : Oil on canvas

Heinrich Davringhausen painted two versions of La Cathédrale de Lourdes. This is the second version of the work. This version has undergone several modifications; as an example, the two rainbows which intersect to form an ogival vault have replaced the yellow star-shaped rays of the first version.

Lourdes Cathedral, painted in 1916, demonstrated Davringhausen's great imaginative power. In its Cubist treatment, the work is reminiscent of some of the interiors of Delaunay Church. The religious paintings he produced during this period reveal his fascination with Gothic vaulted forms. For him, the church was primarily a place of human suffering, personal refuge and the presence of God. Like other Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) artists, he worked on the objective portrayal of German society and its vices. Through his canvas, Davringhausen attempted to combine criticism of the war and religious message with a personal discourse. The changes the artist made in the second version make it more complex and harder to interpret. The representation of unsteady towers about to topple over, the rainbow motifs and the religious feeling exuded by the assembled crowd leave a certain doubt as to the author's intentions, namely whether he was trying to evoke a light of hope, or wanted to paint the canvas as an opposition to the cruelty of war.


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