Monday, May 01, 2017


We had a long weekend including May 1st, which is a holiday in Germany. So we went with friends to Mainz on Saturday. We watched their daughter perform in a scene from Medea, and she was awesome. On Sunday we went to Darmstadt, where there is an artists' colony called Mathildenhöhe.


The symbol for the Mathildenhöhe is the Hochzeitsturm (Wedding Tower). It was designed by one of the founders of the colony, Joseph Maria Olbrich. It was built as a memorial to the wedding of the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig to Princess Eleonore zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich, which took place on February 2, 1905. Construction was completed in time for the 3rd exhibit of the artists' colony, which took place
There is a sun dial on the side of the tower, and underneath is the poem.

Day passes over my face
Night gently touches it
and day and night a balance
and night and day a unity

and the silhouette circles eternally
you stand life long in the dark game
until the meaning of the game strikes you
it is time – you have arrived at your destination

There are many, many poems around the colony. It starts to explain why Germany is known as the Country of Poets and Thinkers.
Inside the tower are rooms for weddings.

Jugendstil is the name of the type of art applied at the Mathildenhöhe. Jugend was the name of the most important magazine about the style of art at the beginning of the movement. That's why the art is called Jugendstil (stil = style in German). We call it Art Nouveau. It evolved from the Arts and Crafts style developed in Britain after its industrial revolution created a longing for hand-crafted products and a return to nature.

The artists’ colony was founded in 1899 by the Grand Duke. He brought together several artists including Peter Behrens, Paul Bürck, Rudolf Bosselt, Hans Christiansen, Ludwig Habich, Patriz Huber, along with the above-mentioned Joseph Maria Olbrich. The artists had four exhibits from 1901 through 1914. The artists could buy property and construct residential houses that were to feature in the exhibition, and so architecture, interior design, handcraft and painting were all on display.

Peter Behrens’ House
Most of the houses survived the fire bombing of Darmstadt at the end of the second world war.
 Front door of Peter Behrens' House


We weren't able to go into any of the houses, but there was an exhibit on the interiors in the museum, which was originally the artists' studio.

 The entrance shows some tiles on the floor. Tiles were very popular, and there was a special exhibit in the museum on tiles.

The radiator of the hot-water heating system is behind the grating.

Everything was included in the design. Here we see the lights, furniture, and carpet.  
This dresser was my favorite piece of furniture. From a distance, it looks like it belongs to the more geometric period rather than the floral period.
As you get closer, the details of the wood at the top of the dresser become visible.

Only when you get very close do you see the eye of Isis, the chalice and cross in front of vines, and the dove above it all.

Jugendstil was applied to art, of course,

and to gardens as well.

There is also a church at Mathildenhöhe.

It is called the Russian Church, because it was used as a private chapel by the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, whose wife Alexandra was born in Darmstadt. She was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and was killed along with the Tsar and their family during the Bolshevik revolution in 1918.

Next to the church is a nice pavilion.

And on the other side is a sycamore grove.