Bronze sculpture details
The motif of the reader is a key motif in Barlach's work, which he already addressed in the lithograph "To whom time is like eternity and eternity like time, he is freed from all suffering" from 1916 and in a charcoal drawing from 1922.
The motif experiences a special density in the spring of 1936 in the sculpture "The Book Reader". The reader is completely absorbed in his reading, radiating concentration and meditative harmony. Enthusiastic about Ernst Barlach's masterful depiction of the reading man, Bertolt Brecht described the work: "A seated man, bent forward, holding a book in heavy hands. He reads curiously, confidently, critically. He clearly seeks solutions
urgent problems in the book (...) I like 'The Book Reader' better than Rodin's famous 'Thinker', which only shows the difficulty of thinking. Barlach's sculpture is more realistic, more concrete ... "
"The Book Reader" is one of Ernst Barlach's most famous and important works. Original castings in bronze are located, among others, in the New National Gallery in Berlin, the State Museum Schwerin and the Foundation Schleswig-Holstein State Museums Schloss Gottorf.
Ernst Barlach - born on January 2nd, 1870 in Wedel in Holstein, died on October 24th, 1938 in Rostock - occupies an exceptional position within German Expressionism. As a graphic artist, draftsman, writer and especially as a sculptor, Barlach created milestones in the history of art: Barlach's sculptural works seek the borderline experience and its representation and this is precisely where their special effect lies. They are works of complex meaning, with which he put the essence of the human being in the foreground and that which stands above the self and the things in the world.