The key to transforming the world and humanity

The key to transforming the world and humanity

27 April 2020 | Sebastian Jüngel

Since Christiane Haid became head of the Visual Art Section in the autumn of 2019 (in addition to her leadership of the Humanities Section), an arts faculty has been formed. One of the Section’s main topics has been the relation between the fourfold human organization and the art genres.


“The spirit bond is severed if it is not maintained by beauty. Beauty joins the ‘I’ to the body.”¹

Art is the key to transforming the entire culture and humanity. But the present situation threatens its existence as well as that of many artists. This low point can open doors, however, to the awareness and the experience that art is vital. This is what we wish to work for in this Section, together with our colleagues all over the world.

At the end of last year, when Christiane Haid assumed responsibility for the Visual Arts Section following the September retreat of the Goetheanum Leadership, we had the first meetings of the Section faculty. The faculty members are Rik ten Cate (sculpture), Yaike Dunselman (architecture), Christiane Haid (Section leader, painting, and other aspects), Barbara Schnetzler (sculpture, exhibitions) and Pieter van der Ree (architecture). Together, we have achieved first results in our planning for the Section, such as the programme for the Ascension Conference² and the 2020 Goetheanum exhibition schedule.

Human fourfoldness in relation to the art genres

The foundation and starting point of the work we have embarked on is Rudolf Steiner’s lecture cycle Art in the Light of Mystery Wisdom (GA 275), given in Dornach (CH) in 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I. It is in this lecture that Rudolf Steiner develops the connection between the constituents of the human organization and the individual art genres with their particular forces and effects. This theme is preceded by a lecture on art and technology that is highly relevant today in the age of digitalization and transhumanism and that highlights how important the arts are. For us this was an essential inspiration for our conference schedule and any further work.

In addition to this, we are planning to do research, together and individually, into how the forces of the fourfold human organization express themselves in the diverse art genres. This approach gives us the opportunity to develop a clearer idea of the role the arts play in relation to the other Sections of the School of Spiritual Science and to deepen these insights in cooperation with these Sections.

As a faculty we presently study the lectures mentioned and the 11th Class Lesson. Additional specialist meetings will complement the Section’s two main annual conferences at Ascension and in November.³

Another important task we have set ourselves is to make Rudolf Steiner’s art impulse better known, both at the Goetheanum and publicly. The current interest in Hilma af Klint shows that art has a special way of opening the door to supersensible realities.

Practising art

We would also like to promote the practice of art at the Goetheanum in courses, work groups and individual projects. The premises needed for this are presently being prepared in the northern part of the Schreinerei Building and will be available from the autumn onwards. We also see the Goetheanum building itself as one of our spheres of action and have longer term plans to bring new life and beauty to its spaces.

The exhibitions at the Goetheanum, where works by anthroposophically inspired artists and Rudolf Steiner’s work are shown, are also part of our remit. Due to the exceptional circumstances we can only show a restricted version of the planned exhibition on the coloured-glass windows – The Language of Light – but will instead show Rudolf Steiner’s original sketches for the Blue Windows, which have never been exhibited before.

During the Faust performances in July we will show paintings on Goethe’s Faust by the Dutch artist Frederiek Nelissen. Up-to-date information on exhibitions and Section events can be found on our homepage.


Information for visual artists, architects, and art and architecture students

We would like to hear from you how the present changes affect you and how this experience is reflected in your art work. We invite you to send us between 1 and 3 three small-format sketches on present events by post, which we will then show in a small exhibition. We would also like to set up a small library in the new Section room, in the Kleinodienhaus, that includes a comprehensive collection of your art catalogues, portfolios (no folders or bulky formats please) etc. Please bring your dossiers marked with name, occupation, contact details to the conference or send them by post. Thank you.


Notes :

¹ Rudolf Steiner: Notebook entry from 1918, Ga 40
² This will probably have to be postponed due to Coronavirus restrictions
³ Meeting for painters: 17 to 19 July 2020; architecture conference The Plastic Element in Architecture: 2 to 4 October 2020; sculptors’ conference on the Representative of Humanity: November 2020. Further meetings of the different disciplines are in preparation (programmes will be published on the Section homepage and in diverse newsletters).

To the website of the Visual Art Section.