[this blog post is best paired with hildegard knef’s “ich bin zu mude, em schlafen zu geh’n”]
i learned a new word today.
it translates as “ideal work of art,” “synthesis of the arts,” or “total artwork.”
richard wagner used ‘gesamtkunstwerk’ in two essays, art and revolution and the artwork of the future, sharing his ideal to unify all works of art—specifically through the theatre to reject meaningless and hollow plots. he later describes his ideal of the arts unified by a common purpose.
the term has been used architectural writers to describe the architect’s responsibility for the entirety of the building—the exterior and interior design, furnishings, decorations, and landscape. creating a trend of harmonious spaces—the interior of a building should complement the exterior. this reminds me specifically of the art nouvea movement, which link decorative arts to architecture and interior design, lending itself to a complete interior. god is in the details.
i love this idea of every detail of a space working in harmony with, not only the rest of the space, but also with the rest of the building. what an ambiance.
i also love the idea of unified arts especially for a common purpose. i recognize that wagner sought to unify the arts for theater—that’s not the purpose i would seek to unify the arts for. i’m not much of a theater person. but i love the idea of the arts unified for God’s glory. there is something good about art with a greater purpose. i think all art forms unified to glorify the Creator would truly fulfill “ideal works of art,” “synthesis of the arts,” and “total artwork.”