Guttenberg beauties were the model

Guttenberg beauties were the model

What angels look like? How attractive they could be? An eternal question of art history. Seven weeks after the end of the war, on 6. June 1945, someone comes to guttenberg who soon asks this question: constantin von mitschke-collande, an important painter of spate expressionism.

At his side his young wife hilde and their four year old daughter constanze. Her pack consists of two backpacks, everything else – including hundreds of paintings that were in his studio in the castle – was stolen by the flames during the bombing of dresden in february 1945.

It is thanks to lazar von lippa-sauerma that the family, fleeing from soviet troops, makes its way to guttenberg of all places. He has been staying at the castle with his wife monika and three children since the fall of 1944. Through kurt pauli, a mutual acquaintance, he learns of the possibility of finding shelter in the castle.

Since, when she arrived, the "refugee tract" the collandes will be accommodated by the reinhold-muller family in the lower castle (am bienengarten 2). They move into a cramped room on the second floor of the late baroque hipped roof building. But they much prefer to spend time in the living room of their hosts on the first floor: this is where the painter sets up his easel, draws and paints in watercolors.

The three children herta, brigitta and ernst immediately fell in love with him because of his humor. They dance around him, help him with his work, accompany him in his nature studies in the green. "The collandes are simply part of the family", brigitta lewerenz (nee reinhold) remembers today.

The artist also goes in and out of the castle. But to the "court painter he will only when he receives from elisabeth von guttenberg, an order: to paint the choir and apse of the church of traindorf.

On 6. July 1945 collande begins with the portrait drawings, a little later with the cartography. No sooner had he completed the outline drawing on the southern end wall of the church than a surprising visitor arrived: elisabeth von guttenberg was standing in the church, with the famous therese neumann, the "resi von konnersreuth," at her side.

Not for the first time elisabeth invited the stigmatized nun to talk in the castle. Ernst reinhold, who was there at the age of ten, remembers: "collande descended from the trestle and buried them warmly with his deep bass."

The frescoes are completed at the beginning of september. Four larger-than-life angels in priestly robes span the triumphal arch to the chancel. They are grouped in pairs and hold a garland with the word of jesus from john 12:32 in their hands: "when i am lifted up from the world, all will come to me." in simple terms: the belief that the voluntary death of the cross means salvation and redemption for all people. It can be assumed that collande, hard hit by war and losses, draws confidence from faith (see interview with art historian lisa kern on the right).

At the same time, he is an artist who plays a humorous game with the people who sat for him as models for the angels: the most attractive women of guttenberg.

But: which is which in the beauty gallery? The angel on the left in its nazarene beauty bears the mark of therese von guttenberg (1929 – 1953). When collande portrays her, she is sixteen, a charming, natural girl. "Resi" marries the renowned munich architect alexander von branca. Shortly after the birth of her first child she dies – bloody young.

Next to her, young-madchen-like, with coarse shining eyes, monika von lippa (1912 – 1976). Collande gives her the beauty of her youth, adored by admirers and in demand as a mannequin.

The angel on the far right bears the facial features of elisabeth von guttenberg (1900 – 1998). In allusion to her deep piety, her gaze is directed to the sky. Elisabeth von guttenberg, early widowed chatelaine, is the great-grandmother of former defense minister karl theodor and the grandmother of conductor enoch zu guttenberg.

Behind the angel at her side is herta reinhold. Her lids half closed, her gaze downcast. Something tantalizingly shady is reflected in the gesture. Collande gives the figure what he observes in the 15-year-old herta: gentleness and awakening eroticism. She is the swarm of the guttenberg boys. In her fancy black swimsuit, she is surrounded by people at the mohrenreuther pond, which was then a youth center. She still remembers exactly where and how he portrayed her: in the reinholds' living room, sitting on a piano stool.

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