Does Knowing the History Change How You Feel?
I was surprised to learn while researching this article that the Lichtbringer, Bringer of the Light Relief Sculpture by Bernhard Hoetger was in fact created to HONOR Adolf Hitler!? What?! Looking closely, there's no swastikas, there's no funny little mustache on the sword wielding hero, nothing that would give away that its supposed to symbolize the Nazis triumphing over 'the darkness'. I had hunted this sculpture down, wanted to see it, and its Nazi-linked history wasn't mentioned in my guidebook. Now I feel funny for liking it. Should I not like it? Unfortunately for the artist Hoetger and the sculpture's commissioner Ludwidg Roselius not only did Hitler dislike it, he went so far as to say it was degenerate, that the whole Böttcherstrasse street design was degenerate, and tried to have it torn down.
On that note..
Welcome to Böttcherstrasse
Standing beneath the aforementioned Lichtbringer Sculpture, you're at the entrance to a brick street unlike any you've ever seen. This was once a popular medieval street linking the Weser river to the city market, where the böttcher, coopers, lived. When Ludwig Roselius bought his first Böttcherstrasse house in 1902, he sought to revitalize the street, create a tourist attraction, and provide a headquarters for his coffee brand company. If you've ever had a need or appreciation for decaffeinated coffee, you should thank Roselius for patenting the decaffeination process.
First, I'm going to let you wander through Böttcherstrasse, take in all the sights, and then I'll explain in the following two posts the artist one museum is dedicated to, Paula Modersohn Becker, and later explain brick expressionism and how it relates to the buildings in Böttcherstrasse.
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