Europe before the First World War

Philip Jenkins wrote a short column for Real Clear Religion that gives some examples of the foreboding that haunted modern European culture before the outbreak of the war. Here’s an example:

Painter Wassily Kandinsky was no less fascinated by angels and imminent judgment. In 1912, Kandinsky edited the legendary manifesto Der Blaue Reiter, which cultural historians regard as an epochal movement in European Modernism. But we lose the religious significance of the name when we use too literal a translation of the school’s German name, calling it the “Blue Rider.” It actually refers to a Blue Horseman, and the movement was born as a protest against a gallery’s decision to reject Kandinsky’s painting of the Last Judgment. That cosmic finale lay at the heart of European Modernism. In 1910, painter Natalia Goncharova created her stunning image of the archangel Michael, the leader of the heavenly hosts in Revelation’s final battles.


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