Book Review Erich Zimmer: IM GEISTE AN DES HERREN TAG

12 May 2021 | Apocalypse in discussion, Blog, News | 0 comments

With 30 pastel drawings about the Apocalypse

Kees Zoeteman

Frans and Ineke Lutters drew my attention to the existence of the book by Erich Zimmer entitled Im Geiste an des Herren Tag (In the spirit at the day of the Lord) on the Apocalypse. His wife Hella Krause-Zimmer (1919-2002) published 10 years after his death a thin but very special book in 1986 by Verlag Die Pforte in Basel. It consists essentially of 30 pastel drawings on black cardboard (50×65 cm) which architect Erich Zimmer (1924-1976) made in 1963 in a short period of barely three weeks. He made these drawings without significant preliminary studies in an apt manner with a special technique he developed.

He immersed himself in the Apocalypse in silence throughout his life. After making the artworks, according to his wife, he said virtually nothing about their meaning. With these images he wanted to capture something of the infinity that speaks through a true work of art. She notes in the Preface, “It is necessary to absorb them for a long time. Much in them only unlocks itself to a lively gaze that can alternate between positive and negative imagery, for he often made use of this artistic means.’ The image on the book’s cover represents the rider on the red horse.

Hella Krause-Zimmer makes the reader aware that since the beginning of the sixteenth century, when Gabriel becomes Zeitgeist, there has been little interest in the Apocalypse, thus ending the intense interest in this subject in the previous centuries. The black-and-white prints of woodcuts by Albrecht Durer in 1497/1498 were the final expression of this earlier interest. But with the arrival of Michael as the new Zeitgeist in the late nineteenth century, interest in the Apocalypse returned, in part due to the new interpretations provided by Rudolf Steiner.

The 30 illustrations span the beginning of the Apocalypse, the sight of the Son of Man, the letters to the seven churches, the face of the throne and include the opening of the seven seals.  

An intriguing image from the letter to the community of Philadelphia is shown below. After a long look, one starts to see  the luminous figure at the right, holding with both hands the six-pointed crown, -which man is exhorted to keep-, safeguarding it from the threatening forces below left, consisting of a downward-pointing pentagram and a serpent preparing to attack.

They represent the counterforces of satan and the devil, Ahriman and Lucifer, which aim to prevent man from finding the upward evolution.

Hella Krause-Zimmer’s interpretations help the reader to recognize forms which remain at first glance hidden in the drawings. 

The book is only available second hand but those who succeed in finding a copy will have acquired a treasure.


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