Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Dresdner Triptychon, Der Krieg by Otto Dix

The Dresdner triptych on should not be confused with a similarly named one by Jan Van Eyck painted in 1437 for the MarienAltar which can be found today in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister  in Dresden. This triptych was created for the celebrated Giustiniani Family of Genoa, Italy. This family has a Saint in the person of Lorenzo Giustiniani who was Cardinal in Venice.

Between 1929-1932 Otto Dix the celebrated German painter and father of German Realism painted a triptych in memory of the Great War 1914-1918. He being a veteran of this war had strong memories of the horrors he witnessed on the battlefields and regrets, the war experience had transformed him. If before 1914 Dix in a self-portrait presents himself almost like Albrecht Durer, who he admired. After 1919 Dix now presents himself in a new self-portrait as Mack the Knife, the character of the Three Penny Opera of Bertold Brecht. Dix laughs and denounces Bourgeois society and its conservative values, the hypocrisy, the lies, he sets himself against that very society of the Weimar Republic. His world is that of the Cabaret, the Cafés, the Brothels and its prostitutes. As a painter and artist he will enrage Hitler who also a veteran of the Great War cannot understand why Dix rejects what Hitler see as glorious, the army, family, discipline and order.

Here is a YouTube documentary in German and English on this masterpiece. I am very happy I had the opportunity to see it in Dresden. It was one of the highlight of our visit. See the web site of the museum:


  1. Well, I missed reading your German trip posts as they were posted but I hope to read them after-the-fact. I remember you talking about Otto Dix in your War Museum war artists post.

    1. yes a very great artist and a far more complex one than AY Jackson.
      There is a whole social movement attached to Dix difficult to understand in a Canadian context.