Ludwig Van Beethoven And Sonatas Music Essay

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany on 16th December 1770 and died in Vienna, Austria on 26th March 1827. He was one of the famous classical composers of all time. He was also known as a pianist. Beethoven composed 32 piano sonatas for the piano. One of the piano sonatas that will be analyzed in this thesis is the Piano Sonata in c minor, Op.13 which is named as “Pathetique”.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed the Piano Sonata in c minor, Op.13 “Pathetique” in 1798. This piece was dedicated to Prince Karl Lichnowsky. This piano sonata has three movements. This sonata was the earliest Beethoven sonatas to be famous and this sonata was first published in Vienna, Austria.
The first movement, Grave, then Allegro molto con brio, the key signature is c minor and the time signature is in 4/4 time. According to Elterlein, E. V. (1920), “This movement portrays his characteristics, a lifelike picture of manly, painful, earnest and passionate emotion. Here and there, fire breaks out, in a marked rhythm, but only to be immediately quenched”. There are several modulations in this movement which are from c minor to eÆ… minor to Db major to f minor and back to c minor.
The second movement, Adagio cantabile, the key signature is Ab major and the time signature is in 3/4 time. Elterlein, E. V. (1920) also said that this movement is much more peaceful than the first movement and is well expressed in the sustained singing theme.
The third movement, Rondo allegro, the key signature is c minor and the time signature is in 4/4 time. It gives completeness to the whole. The author also said that “The storm which swept through the soul in the first movement has subsided”. This movement ends with a satisfactory conclusion. This piano sonata portrays Beethoven’s emotions and characteristics when he was composing this piano sonata.

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1.2 Background of Study
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany on 16th December 1770. He died in Vienna, Austria on 26th March 1827. During that time, there were two great composers who were still living which were Mozart and Haydn. Music at that time was the form of entertainment for many people. But in this modern era, music still remains as one of the form of entertainment too.
According to Knight, F. (1973), the author said “He is also known as a German composer of Flemish descent. He is the son and grandson of musicians at the court of the Elector of Cologne at Bonn”. His grandfather, Louise van Beethoven was a court musician in Bonn in 1733 but eventually became the Kapellmeister but his grandfather spent most of his time running a wine business. Johann, his son, Beethoven’s father was a teacher and a singer at a chapel. He was an alcoholic. He married Beethoven’s mother, Maria Magdalena in 1767. Ludwig van Beethoven was their second child because their first child died in infancy. His grandfather died when he was three years old.
His father taught him to play the harpsichord and the violin just as soon as Beethoven fingers were long enough to play the instruments. His father wanted him to be the next Mozart. So he made him practice hard. Beethoven’s did not have a happy childhood. When he was eight years old, he started lessons with other teachers besides his father. C.G. Neefe was the court organist and a composer. He was the best teacher to Beethoven from 1779 to 1782 because he taught him to play Bach’s forty-eight Preludes and Fugues and composition. He was appointed as court organist when he was about thirteen years old.
In 1787, Beethoven went to Vienna, Austria for the first time and it was not a long visit because he had to get back to Bonn to see his mother who was seriously ill. He was so depress when she died. After his mother’s death, his home was never well managed and Beethoven always looked untidy. When he was seventeen years old, Beethoven had to look after his family because his father was in a wretched state. Part of his salary was given to Beethoven and this made life easier for Beethoven and his brothers.
The van Breuning family is close friends of Beethoven throughout his life. His violin teacher, Franz Anton Reis and the young Count Waldstein helped him in various ways. Beethoven was also very fortunate to have an Elector who loved to spend his time listening to music. Bonn had been invaded by the French armies in 1794. In 1792, Beethoven left Bonn for the last time and he never returned. He travelled to Vienna, Austria. It was also possible that he went to Vienna after being persuaded by Haydn.
After arriving in Vienna, Beethoven realized that Vienna has a different musical atmosphere. In Vienna there are more churches, theatres and court compared to Bonn. They are attended by the city’s large population. He was busy studying for some years in composition because he always found composing hard and stressful. According to Sadie, S. (1967), the author said that among the earliest of his compositions which are still played today are the three piano sonatas, Op.2, which he dedicated to Haydn. In these we can see how this strong-willed, defiant young man’s personality comes out in his music. After completing the Piano Concerto in B flat, he left Vienna for a few months due to a tour. He went to musical centres of Europe which were Prague, Leipzig, Berlin, Budapest and Pressburg. During his journey, he met Prince Lichnowsky who became one of his greatest friends and was also travelling with him. He dedicated one of his finest piano sonatas to Prince Lichnowsky, the Pathetique.
In 1798, he started to lose his hearing. He was becoming deaf which is the most painful and terrible fate for a musician. The deafness did not stop him from composing because he had his perfect ‘inner ear’ as he was a trained and skilled musician. He could hear the sound just by looking at the score. In 1799 and 1800 were the years that he realized that his hearing was deteriorating. He only told two of his closest friends, Franz Wegeler and Karl Amenda of his sickness. He tried various treatments but they all seemed to make him feel worse.
Beethoven’s musical style began to change. There are three periods which can be seen in his life and works. As he was in his thirties, his music began to acquire new and deeper qualities. This was the middle period. His career can be divided into three periods which are the classic period models, the revolutionary pieces which expanded the music vocabulary and compositions which are written in a unique way with elements of contrapuntal, variations and with complete freedom. His pieces became longer, deeper and more expressive. In his last years, he had to carry all his conversations in writing because he became completely deaf by that time.
1.3 Literature Review
A few textbooks about music theory were read in order to understand the field of the research. After reading a few of them, it can be seen that a few books say some things which are similar and some things which are different. For example, Willson, R. B. (2009) textbook titled An Introduction to Music Studies gave a brief introduction about music theory and analysis. The book talks about analysis that can be helpful for the performers, it can help us develop our listening skills, give us a mental representation of music and try to understand what the composers did in the past. Theory on the other hand provides a framework for analysis but it did not explain about the analysis of form and rhythm like the other book which is the Dale, C. (2003). The book which was written by Dale, C. (2003) titled Music Analysis in Britain in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, talks about musical analysis of form and rhythm. In the analysis of form chapter, the author explains about ternary and binary forms. This chapter also explains on how two of these forms create a larger form such as sonata and rondo. Both these books are helpful in this thesis because it helped in identifying the forms and teaches a person to analyze a score but the Dale, C. (2003) book did not describe about how to develop our listening skills or give us a mental representation of music and also how to understand what the composers did in the past.
Another textbook which is Kostka, S. & Payne, D. C. (1984) titled Tonal Harmony: With an Introduction to Twentieth – Century Music is about music theory and harmony. The authors said that “Harmony is defined as the sound that results when two or more pitches are performed simultaneously. It is the vertical aspect of music, produced by the combination of the components of the horizontal aspect.” It also describes the elements of pitch and rhythm. It also introduces and teaches us triads, seventh chords, diatonic chords in major and minor keys, voice leading notes, 4 part writing, harmonic progression, non-chord tones, diatonic seventh chords, augmented sixths, neapoliton chords, binary and ternary forms, modulation techniques and enharmonic modulations. However, this textbook did not discuss about the Sonata form, slow movement form and the Rondo form which will be used throughout this entire thesis. But this book can be use as a reference to understand the basics of theory music.
A book from Caplin, W. E. (1998) titled Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven contains all the information which is needed for this thesis. This book explained about the sonata form in one chapter which consists of the exposition, development and recapitulation. Then there is the slow movement form in another chapter in the book which is usually found in a piano sonata’s second movement such as the Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in c minor, Op.13 “Pathetique” and it is also known to combine the transition and subordinate theme or can also reduce the size of the development section. Then there is a chapter explaining the rondo form too in the book such as the rondo form is known to have two main types which are the five part rondo and the sonata rondo. The ones that will be used in the thesis are the sonata form, slow movement form and the sonata rondo form to analyze the piano sonata in this thesis. However there are other books which also contains the same information as this book but there are still some differences between them.
Green, D. M. (1979) titled Form in Tonal Music: An Introduction to Analysis wrote a book about an introduction to analysis. The author also discusses about the sonata form which is what this thesis wants. The author also told some history about how the sonata form came to being such as the term “sonata” was usually used for works performed by one or two players only. Then the sonata form was explain just like the book written by Caplin, W. E. (1998) in his chapter of sonata form because Green, D. M. (1979) also explained about the sonata form which must have the exposition, development and recapitulation sections in order to form a sonata form in a piano sonata. He also said that it is usually in the first movement of the piano sonata. His book
On the other hand, Rosen, C. (1988) titled Sonata Forms also wrote about the sonata form and said that the first movement sonata form is one of the most complex and very organized series of forms due to the eighteenth century composers who had the tendency to put a great weight on the opening movement which often results to most dramatic structures. The author only briefly explained the sonata form unlike in the books of Caplin, W. E. (1998) and Green, D. M. (1979) but it also helped in giving some information for this thesis. It was easier to understand and the explanation of the sonata form was shorter than the other two books which are mentioned.
Schoenberg, A. (1967) titled Fundamentals of Musical Composition also discusses about those forms such as Sonata form consists of three large scales of functions which are the exposition, developments, and recapitulations. Slow movements are constructed in conventional sonata form. There are a few types of rondo forms such as ABACA, ABACADA, ABACABA. But most of the time it can be situated in one of the two main categories which is the five part rondo (ABACA) and the sonata – rondo (ABACABA). He did not discuss about the slow movement form which is also going to be used in this thesis in chapter three.
There are books which gives descriptions on what the piano sonata sounds like by describing it like a story and what the mood is like in the piece. Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas: Explained for the Lovers of the Musical Art by Elterlein, E. V. (1920) book describe about the piano sonata like a story. For example, the author describes the first movement by writing that it is one of the composers primary character and when the allegro molto con brio starts the author said that it was like a lava stream that burst out of its bound and charges to the front which no one is able to stop it. The description was very story like and it was easy to understand the mood of the movements in the piano sonata.
Fischer, E. (1959) writes about his opinion about this piano sonata in his Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas: A Guide for Students & Amateurs. The author said that the first movement of this piano sonata is like a symphonic work and the last movement is not suitable with the first two. But the second movement was perfect. Dimond, P. (1995) book titled The Art of Beethoven: Volume I is about the piano sonata that is going to be analyzed in this thesis. The first movement starts with Grave, then Allegro molto con brio. It begins in the key of c minor and the time signature is 4/4 time. The second movement is Adagio cantabile. It begins in the key of Ab major and the time signature is 3/4 time. The third movement is a Rondo. It begins in Rondo Allegro and is back in c minor. The time signature is 4/4 time. The book also contains a brief analysis of the three movements of the piano sonata. These books are somewhat similar to one another but also at the same time different because although they are describing the same piano sonata they describe it in their own way. However, Kresky’s book only has some movements of certain piano sonatas which he had analyze. Tonal Music: Twelve Analytic Studies by Kresky, J. (1977) only analyze the second movement of the piano sonata in this thesis. This book is also very useful in chapter three because in this research there is an analysis for the second movement of this piano sonata.
Lives of the Great Composers which was written by a few authors but Latham, P. (1943) wrote on a chapter of Beethoven in the book. It is about Beethoven’s life. It is a biography book about when the composer was born and where he was born. The author also explains the composer’s life in Bonn, who were his music teacher, when he went to Vienna and stayed there and until he died. Other books which are similar to Latham, P. (1943) book are Solomon, M. (1978) titled Beethoven which also describes about the composer’s life, The Great Composers: Beethoven written by Sadie, S. (1967), The Master Musicians: Beethoven written by Scott, M. M. (1934), The Stream of Music written by Leonard, R. A. (1967), Thayer’s Life of Beethoven: Volume I written by Krehbiel, H. (1949), Beethoven: Biography of a Genius written by Merek, G. R. (1969), and Beethoven and the Age of Revolution written by Knight, F. (1973). These books are mostly about Ludwig van Beethoven’s life, personality, hardships, romance, when he started losing his hearing and when his works were composed. Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany on 16th December 1770 and he died in Vienna, Austria on the 26th March 1827. He was a man who gets angry easily, untidy, and difficult to understand. He wrote 32 piano sonatas, 9 symphonies, and so on. He composed the Piano Sonata in c minor, Op.13 “Pathetique” in 1798 and it was during that time that he noticed he was going deaf. He had a few very close friends and they stayed by his side even though sometimes there are conflicts between them. All these biography books were read in order to understand Beethoven and his music. After reading all of them, it became easier to understand Beethoven’s characteristics and how his music evolved through the years.
In this thesis, Taub, R. (2002) book helped a lot. His book title is “Playing the Beethoven Piano Sonatas”. It is one of the performance practice books that are found in the University of Malaya’s main library. He wrote about his opinion on how he thinks this piano sonata should be interpreted. For example, he said that in order to play and effective fp the pianist should depress the keys fast to create forte, then immediately allows the sound to rise so that the sound can be immediately become soft. This information from the author is very helpful in this thesis in chapter four.
The piano is the main instrument which is used most in this thesis because the analysis of this thesis is related to the piano. The Pianoforte written by Clutton, C. (1969) is a small chapter from a book titled Musical Instruments through the Ages which is edited by Anthony Baines. The chapter explains about the history of the piano about how it was created and who first created it. The piano was later developed a lot during the classical period. The piano became well known after Mozart started composing music for the piano in the 1770s. Another two similar books which is about the piano are The Piano: A History by Ehrlich, C. (1976) and Keyboard Interpretation: from the 14th to the 19th Century by Ferguson, H. (1975). The touch, fingering, tones, musical types and forms, and pianist problems are very important and must be solved in order to interpret the music successfully. This is related to one of the objectives in this thesis because over the years the piano is always being developed in the 18th century until now. So a brief history of the piano should be included in this thesis so that everyone who read this thesis can understand how the piano was made and why different pianos create different sounds. Pedalling techniques are sometimes different on the pianos that the pianists are playing. It will be discussed further in chapter four.
1.4 Objectives
There are a few objectives which need to be achieved in doing this topic besides fulfilling my graduation requirement which are:
To examine the performance practice of Beethoven’s early/ middle/ late sonata on today’s grand piano but this thesis will only focus on one of his early piano sonata.
To analyze the movements and the way it should be played on today’s grand piano because during the time of Beethoven, they used a different style and technique to approach this piano sonata. This thesis will help the readers who read this to play the piano sonata if they are having difficulty in understanding how it should be played.
To analyze the recording of a few musicians playing this piano sonata whether they are playing similarly or different than what it is written on the score and also to see which pianist piano playing is best to be learnt from.
Comparing the urtext edition score and another publisher score to see which version is
1.5 Methodology
The method that will be applied in this research is mainly on researching secondary resources, surfing through the internet and visiting the libraries which can be gain accessed and permission. In order to understand the field that is chosen, a lot of secondary resources is needed which are books, articles from journals, e – journals and thesis. Those secondary resources helped picked the topic and title for this thesis. By going to the University of Malaya’s main library and also borrowed some of the lecturer’s books, it can be found that a book titled “Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven” by William Earl Caplin are very useful for this thesis. There is also an article titled “The Paradox of Musical Analysis” from the Journal of Music Theory which was written by Mark DeBellis which was found in the University of Malaya’s main library in the journal section. This article gave a brief idea on how the thesis should begin and how to start the musical analysis. All the methods which were mentioned will be carried out towards the end of the research because getting more information is very important for this research.
The books in the University of Malaya’s main library also have many biography books of the composer, Ludwig van Beethoven which is in the research. Books which were written by Knight, F., Latham, P., Solomon, M., Sadie, S., Scott, M.M., Leonard, R.A., Krehbiel, H., Merek, G.R. and others all talked about Beethoven’s life, hardships, compositions that he composed, challenges that he faced and his sickness. The books had many different styles in describing his life, hardships, compositions and challenges. These books can help in the thesis while it is being done because they are like guide books of Beethoven’s life on what he had done and achieved.
Books which are related to performance practice are also used in this thesis are also found in the University of Malaya’s main library. A book which was written by Taub, R. was about how to play the Beethoven’s sonata. This book interprets how a Beethoven sonata should be played by the author. A book which was written by Ferguson, H. and Marshall, R. L. will also be used for this thesis. All these books are related to what is being analyzed in this thesis.
After finding all the secondary resources for data and understanding them which are related to the thesis, the topic and title of the thesis can now begin analyzing. The scores which are taken from two types of publications will be analyzed. The first analysis is by analyzing the piano sonata’s movements such as modulations, dynamics, articulations, pedal points and others. The second analysis is by comparing both editions of the scores which are from different publications to see whether there are similarities or differences. The third analysis is to analyze a video of a pianist who uses one of those editions in interpreting his or her playing of the Beethoven piano sonata on the grand piano.
In order to get information for the research, there are many sources that can be access easily through the internet. For example, the JSTOR database and MUSE database. These websites can be accessed for references and articles from journals for the research. With the use of internet, it is also possible to purchase a book through the internet in that cannot possibly be purchase in any of Malaysia’s bookstores. There are books which are sometimes not available in Malaysia because the bookstores in Malaysia did not order them. It is also because those books are not so suitable to everyone. The books are usually bought by musicians and people who want to gain more music knowledge. The internet can also be use to view videos of famous pianist playing the piano sonata. The videos can be easily viewed in By observing them through the videos, a comparison can be made on which pianist plays the piano sonata better and also which edition of the score is being interpreted the most.
All these will be done in chapter two, three and four. A CD will be provided with this thesis for this piano sonata. The CD contains two pianists who play the same piano sonata which is Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in c minor, Op.13 “Pathetique”.

Works of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), a German-born architect is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of Modern architecture, responsible for establishing and popularizing a new architectural style in the U.S. Mies left Germany in 1938 to head the Armour Institute, which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology. His design of the Main Campus and of other important buildings, such as the apartment towers at 860 and 880 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and the Seagram Building in New York, helped set a new aesthetic standard for modern architecture. (Blake, 1960).Mies created an inspiring 20th century architectural style, stated with high clarity and simplicity. He carried the ideals of rationalism and minimalism to new levels. His work in US made use of modern materials such as steel and glass to define interior spaces.(Kostof, 1995). He called his buildings “skin and bones” architecture. He wanted to achieve an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free flowing space. Mies’ Buildings in US radiate the confidence, rationality and elegance of their creator, free of ornamentation excess.(Blake, 1960) His philosophy that “less is more” became a guideline for architects in the 20th century. (SearchQuotes)

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With the establishment of a new campus for the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Mies van der Rohe had the opportunity to plan the campus as well as several other of building. The Minerals and Metals building (1942- 1943) was Mies’ very first construction on the campus. This building marked the first step toward the realization of Mies’ master plan for the IIT campus which was one of his most famous works in America. This project is “not something made by the God of Crown hall” stated by Kevin Harrington but rather Mies urges us to understand the building as part of the development of his own architectural language.This is where we first see his transition from forms that has been “dear to his heart”, seen in his work in Europe, to new forms that were “possible, necessary and significant”. It is in the Minerals and Metals building we first see Mies use of rolled -steel- I beam as part of his structural grammar. Mies’ unconventional use of steel was a map to the inside of the building, and it inaugurated a technique he used again in his projects in America. Giedion,1982).
Crown Hall (1950-1956). This building situated on the IIT campus is a modern masterpiece. The National Historic landmark described Crown hall as “A straight forward expression of construction and materiality, which allows the structure to transcent into art”. Crown hall is an enormous room, 120 x 220 ft. in plan, 18 ft. high without interior columns, used for the architectural school. The building is raised several feet above the ground to allow light for the below grade school of Design. The most interesting point is the structural solution of exposed structural beams above the roof, making dear the method of achieving the clear-span interior. The huge scale of the building and the column-free open plan of the main floor of Crown hall demonstrates Mies’ innovative concept of creating universal space. Mies van der Rohe ended his relationship with the school in 1958.(Blake, 1960)
Exterior, entry façade
Open plan of Crown hall, creating universal space.
Shifting away from Mies work on IIT campus, another of his well renowned work is Farnsworth House (1946-1951).A small weekend retreat outside Chicago. The ‘Farnsworth house’ is one of the most radically minimalist houses ever designed. It’s interior, a single room, subdivided by partitions and completely enclosed in glass.”The muteness speaks to us through the gentle and contlingent setting of the house on its site” Hartoonian(1984,pp.48).The building is held together by only eight steel columns. Mies van de Rohe was able to realize spatial and structural ideas. For example the I beams are both structural and expressive. “The use of glass negates the dialectics of enclosure and openness” Hartoonian(1984,pp.48). Farnsworth House which may seem as an iconic glass box to be viewed from afar is rather a space through which life unfolds both independently and interdependently with nature.(Blake, 1960).
Sketch of Mies Farnsworth’s House.
Floor plan of Farnsworth House.
The Seagram Building on Park Avenue was Mie’s first attempt at tall office building construction.Mies creates a stunning monument to the International Styles faith in simplicity and clarity. The 38-story tower quickly began the country’s most influential and copied office building, an instant classic. The building’s external faces are given their character by the quality of the materials used – the tinted glass and the bronze ‘I-beams’ applied all the way up the building. In the picture below you can see the building is pulled back from street line to allow the building to circumvent the setback provisions of the city code “as well as create its own breathing space”(Kostof,1995) The Seagram Building is the first bronze-coloured skyscraper. The metal bronze skin that is seen in the facade is non-structural but is used to express the idea of the structural frame that is underneath. Additional vertical elements were also welded to the window panels, not only to stiffen the skin for installation and wind loading, but to aesthetically further enhance the vertical articulation of the building.(Blake,1960).
Exterior view from the northwest Structural plan of one corner, showing the main . pier and projecting I- beams.
860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments in Chicago is another of Mies’ high rise building where he implied the same style of modern architecture carried in his projects in the US. The 26-story towers bordering Lake Michigan give a beautiful waterfront view. The reason for this creation involved his concept that architecture should be independent of the site. The buildings are renowned for their structural clarity and composition on the site. The same common materials are used in this project: steel, aluminium and glass. The most impressive feature of the building is the skin and bone expression of the steel and glass towers.The steel I-beams effortlessly define the structure while the glass suspends and encloses space. It is obvious that he relies on clarity of form achieved through elegant proportions. Prior to this point, structure was hidden within architecture, but here we see a change.Mies merged the two by exposing the steel, realizing his own words: “When technology reaches it true fulfilment, it transcends into architecture” This is not only seen in this project but many of his other projects in the US.(Blase,1999)
Two apartment buildings at cross axis towards one another on the triangular site delivering view of surrounding area.
Another of Mies very striking projects is Federal Center.Here once again we see the minimalist glass and steel design which is very simple yet very striking. According to the AIA guide of Chicago: “Mies’s uncompromising devotion to principle, together with his vaunted sensitivity to proportion and structural detail, and, in this case, the organizational scale, combine to give the complex a monumental urban presence. Both towers are curtain-wall structures, characteristic of the high-rise design of Mies’s American period. Their steel frames, suppressed behind uniform walls of glass and steel, are marked off by projecting steel I-beam mullions. The Post Office, a unitary space with a central core, is similarly typical of Mies’s reductivist concept of the single-storey pavilion. Externally thin yet powerful structural columns of steel brace enormous panes of tinted glass.” The plaza at the federal center is cold, uninviting which minimal seating and with this the one story post office, everything feels very utilitarian. But this does not mean Mies lacked an eye for detail.His eye for details is seen through all glass design, which was very deliberate as well as the granite tiles of plaza to the granite walls in the lobby. Black I-beams look very industrial running up the side of the building and are completely ornamental. The Alexander Caldwell’s flamingo structure in the center is marked contrast to the plain building behind it.(Blaser,2004)
The plaza of the Mies van der rohe designed Federal center in Chicago,The Klucynski builidng is to the left,one story post office to the right and Alezander Caldwells flamingo structure in the center.
Mies van der Rohe without a doubt created an influential 20th century architectural style in the US, stated with high clarity and simplicity.He helped define modern architecture in the US by emphasizing open space, revealing the industrial materials used and reinventing the form of buildings. He carried the ideals of rationalism and minimalism to new levels. This is clearly evident in Minerals and Metals, Crown hall, Farnsworth house, Seagram building and the Federal Center.His use of modern materials such as glass and steel can also be seen in these buildings. Mie’s’ Buildings in the US radiate the confidence, rationality and elegance of their creator, free of excess ornamentation. He follows his philosophy that “less is more” and this approach of Mies is pertinent as ever in his projects.(Blake,1960).

Ludwig Feuerbach The Essence Of Christianity Religion Essay

Feuerbach’s own introduction to the second print of his The Essence of Christianity is as good an exposé as any of both his intentions and the content of his book. His own comments on the style of his writing are insightful both with regard to the content of the book as of the Young Hegelian movement as a whole. Forms, it seems, encapsulates the direction which Hegelian thought seem to have taken. This sense of style seems both as a device by which Feuerbach distances himself from the at times tiresome and elaborate musings of the German philosophical tradition and as a means by which to demonstrate the immediate and down-to-earth conclusion he himself has drawn from studying the Christian faith. In doing so Feuerbach claims to walk a path wholly of his own making, far removed from the obfuscation associated with Hegel’s work. Style, then, is as much content as it is on the surface of things. It tells us both to whom the message is addressed and the context in which it is written. Feuerbach is, perhaps as a result of his awareness of the to be resolved Hegelian dichotomy between form and content, highly self-conscious of the form he is taking in addressing his audience:

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“I have never held, surely, the scholars to be the measure of true learning and of the art of writing; not those abstract and particular academic philosophers, but universal man instead. (…) and I have made a law of the highest level of clarity, simplicity and determinacy to the extent to which the subject matter allows it. I have done so in all my writing, including this one, in order that every educated and thinking man can at the very least understand the main point of my work.”  
Feuerbach’s style is inherently democratic and adverse to the prevalent mandarinism of the German intelligentsia. It is a statement in and by itself. The suggestion Feuerbach is making is that this is the language of science. These are not subjective utterances of a particular individual but irrefutable truth arrived at by virtue of strict application of a thoroughly rational methodology. Feuerbach’s posture is one of a levelheaded thinker who aspires to the elementary truth. A truth that is, as we shall see, not shrouded in the abstract mysteries of abstract thought, but instead claims to be commonplace. One only needs to look clearly at the world in order for the ghosts of speculative idealism to dissipate. Feuerbach is practising the art of artlessness.
Many of those influenced by Feuerbach have tried to emulate this posture and it is probable that a large part of the success of The Essence of Christianity is due to it tone. Its tone must have been seductive to an ever increasing contingent of thinkers barred from having a place within the established order. The author of The Essence, so it seems, took a certain pride in his lack of social stature. After all, such rogue thinkers might well be more inclined to think outside the box, not needing to adorn their truths in order to make them acceptable to all. This pathos is certainly recognizable in our present and practically an idiom in popular culture. At the time of its publication, however, the feeling was such that The Essence had cleared new grounds. It was frequently said that The Essence had a liberating effect. It expressed – double entendre implied – the spirit of the age. Or at least the very least the spirit of a particular segment within the 19th century German speaking countries of Central Europe. A segment of society that was repressed and excluded and had now, finally, found a voice to call its own.
Feuerbach’s aim was to clear away the alienating representations of Christianity in order to gain an empiricism that allowed to clearly state the nature of reality. Feuerbach:
“(…) weiter will meine Schrift nichts sein als eine sinngetreue Übersetzung – bildlos ausgedrükt: eine empirisch- oder historisch-philosophische Analyse, Auflösung des Rätsels der christliche Religion.”  
“(…) my book wants to nothing more than a translation that is true to the senses – expressed without images: an empirical- or historical-philosophical analysis, resolution of the mystery of the Christian religion.”  
In the above Feuerbach makes clear his intent. He wants to strip bare the Hegelian dialectic into its most elementary form and overcome an idealism that is identified as being synonimous with the teachings of Christianity. The truth attained after decomposing Christianity will be immediate, sensual, and therefore without images. These words resemble those of an iconoclast, of someone wanting to empty the faith of all idolatry that stands in the way of truth.
This is feeling is enhanced by Feuerbach’s insistence that the Christianity which he shall tackle is not the same today as it was at the moment of its own genesis.  The original teachings of the Christian faith by Jesus have been steadily corrupted, according to Feuerbach, by subsequent interpretations and explanations of theologists. Theology has transformed Christianity into dogma’s that are contradictory and unintelligible. The Essence is an attempt to retrieve the religion of Christianity from its theology, and Feuerbach makes a clear distinction between the two. Only after going back to this moment of authenticity within the Christian faith, that is, of the original myths surrounding the teachings of Jesus, can we hope to gain a new insight as to what these myths really imply. This explicit disapproval of theology in Feuerbach’s writing is, as we shall see, consistent with a particular strand of anti-intellectualism expressed in The Essence.
For Feuerbach believed that he had transcended not only the limitations of religion but those of philosophy as well. The Essence is itself therefore not a work of philosophy but of anthropology. In anthropology both religion and philosophy were superseded; it provided immediate, scientific, truths about human nature. By emphasizing that he was practicing another form of enquiry altogether Feuerbach tried to make more dramatic his break with both Christianity and the excesses of speculative philosophy as done by Hegel. Anthropology was believed to provide concrete results that could be empirically verified by basic human understanding, doing so in a commonsense language untainted by jargon.
Anthropology dealt with humanity in general and had as a field of study, according to Feuerbach, something concrete and real. For humanity was undeniable since we ourselves were human. Feuerbach abhorred the tendency of idealist thought to reduce everything to the consciousness of the single mind. This, he thought, was an absurdity since much of what one calls one’s own can be seen to be embodied by other human beings as well.  The human body was as a source of non-intellectual understanding, or ‘feeling’, shared by all members of the species.  
So too was (historic) human culture a field for the creation of collective meaning by which those unalienable qualities of the human race could be represented. Feuerbach remained a Hegelian in seeing historical development of human culture in connection with the development of human consciousness. He too believed that the ideas and truths developed and represented in culture would, given time, be embodied by human consciousness. Feuerbach diverted from Hegel in seeing this development in terms of man’s understanding of himself as member of a species. This understanding was expressed in highly naturalistic and empirical terms.
With regard to Strauss, Feuerbach said not to be interested in the question of whether Jesus Christ had truly existed or not. Nor would Feuerbach critically interpret theology, a field in which he had no interest other than a feeling of disdain. What was of interest was the instantly recognizable myth told by the Biblical story of humanities redemption through Christ. This was the core around which the webs of mystification were spun. Just as the life and death of Christ was key in Hegel’s understanding of the Christian faith in being his philosophy’s other. So too was redemption, according to Feuerbach, the single most important event which had taken place in human history. Feuerbach’s task was to take this myth and explain it in atheistic, anthropological, terms which directly reflected the hope and aspirations of humanity at large.
This was not, however, to reduce or criticize the essence of faith. Rather, this methodology exhibited in The Essence was to scientifically explain the myth central to Christianity. In the understanding of the dialectic this meant that the content of the Bible, which was still marred by an excessive dependence on representation, could be brought on a higher plain of immediate understanding. In other words, although Christianity contained a truth, this truth was itself marred by Christianity. Christianity was in contradiction with itself, a contradiction that had to be resolved by its being superseded by anthropology. Feuerbach says of this:
“Ich (…) lasse die Religion sich selbst aussprechen; ich mache nur ihren Zuhörer und Dolmetscher, nicht ehren Souffleur.”  
“I (…) let religion speak for it self; I am merely its audience and translator, not its critic.”  
Feuerbach, like Hegel, sees Christianity as a mirror of human consciousness. The qualities ascribed to Christianity are, in truth, the qualities of the human mind at a given time. Throughout The Essence the claim is repeated that faith is but an alienated manifestation of the self-as-species. The consciousness of God is the self-consciousness of mankind, the knowledge of God is the understanding of mankind. Religion is the first attempt towards self-consciousness. Yet it is in itself flawed; it remains an indirect self-consciousness through the manifestations of religion. Feuerbach writes in a sentence that could have been made by Hegel himself;
“Der Mensch verlegt sein Wesen zuerst außer sich, ehe er es in sich findet.”  
“At first man misplaces his essence outside himself, before finding it within himself.”  
Everything that is to be found in religion can be found in actual human consciousness itself. Religion is constituted by reverence for alienated qualities of the self. Despite all its grandeur, religion has no content that is particular to its self. Religion is alienation itself and therefore made up around nothingness. This also explain the vague, indistinct, character of the omnipotent Christian God. God is said to embody all virtues of man, yet none in particular. God is everywhere, yet nowhere in particular. God knows everything, because he knows nothing in particular. According to Feuerbach the very notion of God is itself void:
“(…) weil alle Dinge, die der Vernunft imponieren, vor der Religion verschwinden, ihre Individualität verlieren, im Auge der göttlichen Macht nichts sind. Die Nacht is die Mutter der Religion.”  
“(…) because all things, that are impressive to the mind, vanish before religion, lose their individuality, are nothing in the eyes of God. The night is the mother of religion.”  
Religion is itself the very movement by which man loses his own essence. That which enriches our conception of God makes our understanding of ourselves all the more poorer.  The two are directly related in that what benefits one deprecates the other. In the mirror house of representation that is religion, a strange shift has occurred the puts the world upside-down. God, the representation, has replace man as representans, that is, as the very source from which the representation was brought forth.
“Der Mensch – dies ist das Geheimnis der Religion – vergegenständlicht sein Wesen und macht dann wieder sich zum Gegenstand dieses vergegenständlichten, in ein Subjekt, eine Person verwandelten Wesens; er denkt sich, ist sich Gegenstand, aber als Gegenstand eines Gegenstands, eines andern Wesens. So hier. Der Mensch ist ein Gegenstand Gottes.”  
“Man – this is the secret of religion – objectifies his being and then again transforms himself into an object in relation to his own objectification, into a subject, a essence changed into a person; he thinks himself, is object to himself, but as object to an object, another being. There you have it. Man is an object of God.”  
As was hinted at in the above, however, Christianity carries within itself a contradiction. According to Feuerbach this contradiction means the end of Christianity itself and has to do with the notion of love. Love was crucial in the story of redemption. In this Biblical narrative man is redeemed in the eyes of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus had died for our sins in the name of mankind – in an act of love – and so had brought us into union with God. A harmony had been restored. A new holy light shone upon mankind in which all men were henceforth assured of the love of God. Feuerbach that this was the message and myth central to Christianity; a myth that was still clearly visible after ages of theological corruption.
But Feuerbach believed that love did not unify mankind but, instead, divided it into those having God’s grace and those lacking it. The notion of love, central to Christianity, narrowed the conception of who was man and who was not. In practice love had gained a negative meaning; it served to denote the faithful from the heathen.  Love, then, determined who was to be fought and annihilated. “Im Glauben liegt ein böses Prinzip”, that is, in faith there rests an evil principle.  Love is, according to Feuerbach, an completely natural and distinctly human instinct. Love is one of the most compassionate, benign, qualities of man. Love serves to bridge the gap between subject and subject; it is by virtue of itself inter-personal. Yet Christianity had managed to pervert love and make it not into a unifying notion, but a dividing one. Christian love, then, furthered particularity and subjectiveness, preventing a higher dialectical union in universal objectivity.
Feuerbach had granted love a moral dimension. To love mankind is a moral type of love, to love a single individual is a personal, subjective love.  The former unifies, the latter divides. For to love a single person is to excluse others from your love. Only universal love of man-as-species is moral. Since love of God is love that is particular it shows itself to be immoral. The love of God deprives mankind from the love of both other human beings and himself as a member of mankind. Christian love is therefore intricately connected not only with the image of those who do not receive it and are the enemy but also with the notion of self-hate.
To love God is to alienate that which make you human and thus reduce oneself to something underserving of that very love. This is why the concept of sin in a post-Christian era would not make any sense. Sin exists by virtue of God, a God whom we have granted our most valuable and essential qualities. We are sinfull because we have alienated our essence unto God. To deny God is to reclaim those qualities. Since I cannot be in contradiction with myself, there is not higher authority, I cannot live in sin.  
Christianity is essentailly intolerant and adverse to any true understanding of love. It denies that which it claims is its essence. Christianity, then, in the end, denies itself. This is what Feuerbach meant with the idea that to let Christainity speak for it self is to end it. It is a negativity that negates itself. Love has to be made universal. We should not say, as Feuerbach would have it, “God is love”, but “Love is god”.  God is our own universal nature that we have alienated through religion. Love is synonimous with universality itself. Feuerbach:
“Die wahre Liebe ist sich selbst genug; sie bedarf keiner besondern Titel, keiner Autorität. Die Liebe ist das universale Gesetz der Intelligenz und Natur – sie ist nichts andres als die Verwirklichung der Einheit der Gattung auf dem Wege der Gesinnung.”  
“True love is enough by virtue of itself; it needs not special titel, no authority. Love is the universal law of intelligence and nature – it is nothing else but the realization of the unity of the species on the road of natural inclination.”  
Love is only free when it is universal, unrestrained by particularity. Only then can it serve as the means by which man recognizes himself-as-species. The notion of species is not a cold intellectual thought; the very energy of love, our most human of inclinations, is that which constitues our species-being.  The historical figure Jesus Christ is therefore nothing else but our species-being represented in a singular image. Since we are all human, and therefore part of humanity, so too are all of us Christ.  
(‘The emperors’s new clothes’ by Hans Christian Andersson as a metaphor for Stirner’s ‘Ego and Its own’; “The Emperor (Feuerbach) is not wearing any clothes!”)

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s New National Gallery, Berlin

The closest Ludwig Mies van der Rohe got to realising his vision of the column-free pavilion? Was this final expression of his ideas of canonical significance for 20th Century architecture?
The New National Gallery in Berlin was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s last design. Throughout his career he had been employing the same central ideas he was concerned with to most of his designs, gradually developing and refining them. In order to understand his last building, said to embody successfully all the ideas he was most passionate about, it is important to see how these evolved from building to building over the years. Then one can consider this final expression of his ideas as a result of a lifetime’s worth of work and assess it in terms of its significance in Modern Architecture.
Since the 1920s, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had been focusing on evolving two types of forms which could be adapted to a range of situations; the skeletal framed building with small cellular spaces ideally designed for office and apartment buildings and the single volume pavilion where a larger completely flexible space is needed.
At a time of rapid and continuous change, it made sense for Mies van der Rohe to develop the latter, the infinitely flexible space. Contrary to the largely known notion by Louis Sullivan that ‘form follows function’, Mies believed that buildings should be designed with the least amount of fixed elements so as to be as flexible as possible and ready to adapt as their functional requirements change over time. His designs since 1921 are a demonstration of his quest for ‘flexible space’. He was pursuing ‘open and flowing rather than closed and cellular’.

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The New National Gallery is widely considered the most developed expression of such a space. In this project, Mies had the opportunity to create the infinitely flexible interior but also incorporate two more of his most important notions; appropriate and visible structure and fluidity between interior and exterior. ‘Mies’s most central principles synthesized into a single pavilion of powerful scale and presence.’
Mies’s journey from his first buildings to the embodiment of his most significant ideas in the New National Gallery was anything but a straight line. However, there were significant steps that marked the development of his idea of the column-free pavilion. These significant stages were outlined by Mies’s pupil and future associate Peter Carter.
The idea of an open and flowing space first materialized in the house designs of Frank Lloyd Wright where living areas are fairly open and interconnected. Wright’s open plan designs excited architects all over Europe. However, it was Mies who took the idea of the ‘de-cellurization’ of the building further. ‘His sequence of space-liberating designs from about 1920 onwards changed the way in which architects thought.’
Mies’s Brick Country House was his first development of the free-plan interiors that Frank Lloyd Wright had introduced. It was a long way before the creation of the completely unobstructed interior space, but an important move in this direction, as in this project Mies started subdividing the interior by free standing walls rather than conventional ones. He only let walls to meet as L or T junctions to allow the interior space to flow freely from one room to the other and out into the landscape. Although this merely constituted the first step in his pursuit of open flowing space, Mies van der Rohe had already taken the concept of spatial continuity and fluidity much further than anything proposed by Wright.
Though he had started removing interior walls, the exterior of the Brick Country House remained solid. The next step towards his open flowing space was abolishing the division between interior and exterior space. The opportunity to apply this was the Barcelona pavilion; one of the most influential designs of the 20th Century. In this project, Mies transformed practical, conventional walls into abstract planes ‘freely disposed as in a De Stijl composition’. In the De Stijl movement, artists simplified visual compositions with the use of primary colours and straight horizontal and vertical lines.
In the Barcelona pavilion, walls are not functional in the conventional way. Instead of supporting the roof and separating specific rooms, these planes loosely define space. What is also unclear and undefined in this project, is the division between the interior and the exterior space, another important step towards his open-flowing space.
After substituting load-bearing walls with slender columns, the next step to the Miesian transparent pavilion was to remove columns from the interior completely and placing them on the outside perimeter of the building. This would render possible the interior to be completely unobstructed from any fixed elements and theoretically make it totally flexible. This was first seen in his Concert Hall project in 1942.
Lastly, in the Farnsworth House in Plano, Mies van der Rohe would dematerialize completely the outer walls of the pavilion so as to push the concept of ‘transparency sandwiched between two horizontal planes’.
Mies van der Rohe’s long series of experimentation had as a result the development of a general architectural form, the column-free Miesian pavilion. ‘The pure glass-walled version of the column-free Miesian pavilion would provide the parti for the New National Gallery in Berlin.’
The commission for a new art gallery in Berlin was an opportunity for Mies to finally build the single-volume clear-span pavilion in its purest form which he had never been able to build before. He was commissioned to construct a much needed permanent home for the modern art collection in the Western part of the then divided city.
Though half the size and population of West Berlin, the Eastern part included most of the cultural institutions and the historic centre of the city. It was in this context that the Culture Forum was designed. It was going to be a cluster of buildings dedicated to culture and the fine arts to replace the institutions that had fallen in the eastern part of the post-war city. The New National Gallery was going to be part of it and would ‘epitomize the integration of West Berlin and West Germany into the democratic capitalist system of the West’.
The site for the new gallery was Kemperplatz, an area between Potsdammer Strasse and the Tiergarten that had once been a busy centre of Berlin life before being destroyed by wartime bombing. Apart from the church of St. Matthew’s of 1846, nothing was left standing after the war and this unused land that remained would provide the site for the development of Berlin’s new Culture Forum.
The driving idea behind the gallery was the creation of a minimalist, steel and glass, column-free pavilion which would ‘stand as a noble monument in the townscape’. In his pursuit for a monument-like feel and uncompromising symmetrical composition, Mies referred to ancient temples such as the Parthenon. The gallery would later on be aptly named and largely known as the ‘temple of light and glass’.
Once built, it would create a dramatic contrast to the other buildings of the ‘Kulturforum’ by Hans Scharoun. Whereas Scharoun was much more expressionist, Mies opted for austere geometrical forms that show the structure of the building and let it stand out from, but also connect to its surroundings. ‘Amid the visual tumult of Berlin’s Culture Forum there reposes a single island of order and tranquillity, the New National Gallery.’
Mies may have wanted continuity and fluidity between the pavilion and its surroundings. Nonetheless, it was never meant to hide in Berlin’s busy life, but as previously mentioned, it ‘had to have a monumental form’. This prerequisite, along with the inclination of the land encouraged the idea of setting the gallery on a large open terrace.
The experience of reaching the entrance further intensifies the gallery’s monument-like feel. Wide steps guide the visitor who begins to feel slightly separated from the surrounding city. The feeling intensifies as the visitor walks towards the back and the sloping site starts to fall away on either side. By then, the pavilion sits well above street level, and almost has the tranquillity of the top of a hill and has therefore ‘become psychologically detached from the everyday bustle beneath’. This method of detaching a building from its surroundings and raising it as if on a pedestal was often used by Mies van der Rohe, starting with his first project, the Riehl house. This method also gives the building a sense of calm, again referring to the ancient temple on the top of a hill.
Sitting on the large open terrace, surrounded by sculptural works of arts, is Mies’s minimalist pavilion. It is the pinnacle of Mies’s idea of free space. He eliminated interior columns completely to allow for a large unobstructed space for artists to exhibit their work without any limitations in terms of space.
Mies van der Rohe followed the notion he introduced in Barcelona pavilion and any fixed elements in the interior space of the gallery have no load-bearing function. The ‘Tinos’ marble-faced columns in the New National Gallery provide for ventilation and roof drainage and the gallery is supported by eight slender cruciform columns placed on the outside of the pavilion, two on each side. By completely removing solid walls, Mies wanted to symbolise that space extends beyond the boundaries of the interior. The large spans of glass are set far back from the edge of the roof thus creating the effect of a floating plane. The unique open space created on the upper floor is mainly used for temporary, travelling exhibitions, and is ready to be modified according to changing needs, whilst all the permanent collections are safely hidden in the lower level, away from natural light.
The steel and glass podium sits on a colossal subterranean stone ‘pedestal’. Though not visible, the lower level is perfectly proportional to the podium above. The lower level, apart from accommodating for the whole of the permanent collection, also includes all of the building’s functional spaces including support and utilitarian rooms.
Closed on three sides, the lower floor only opens on the west side, to reveal a quiet outdoor sculpture garden. The garden is enclosed by grey granite walls which separate it from the surrounding bustling city. The floor, paved in granite slabs is another example of Mies’s pursuit of a flexible space. The slabs are laid loosely on the gravel, ready to be moved into new arrangements if required. With the outdoor garden, Mies created ‘an oasis of calm in a bustling metropolis’.
Mies van der Rohe firmly believed in appropriate structure. ‘A building, he was convinced, should be ‘a clear and true statement of its times’ and in the case of the New National Gallery its time was characterised by advanced industrialism. For Mies van der Rohe, a building’s structure should be true to the materials and processes of its time, but also poetic and visible through the building, rather than obscured behind decorative features. Like many architects after the First World War, he wanted to bring the advantages of industrialized production methods to his architecture. He was interested in finding a new material which would allow most parts of the building to be manufactured in a factory, to ensure better quality and eliminate on-site labour.
One of the most important features of a design that hoped to achieve ‘transparency sandwiched between two horizontal planes’, was the roof. Mies van der Rohe designed a monumental roof which he wanted to have as if floating above the large spans of clear glass. The design was a difficult issue to be negotiated with engineers but also a chance for the architect to bring the post-war industrialised production methods in this project.
The roof, being massive, was made in sections. Its thickness is constant and always visible. What varies between sections is the quality of the steel which changes according to the level of pressure sustained by each section. The roof is a fine example of Mies van der Rohe’s pursuit of true structure. The ceiling, with no false ceiling added to it, also incorporates a black grid of beams which is used as an exhibit surface when the gallery hosts light exhibitions. The colossal roof, 1200 tonnes of steel, was put together and raised in one day.
As a whole, the gallery’s sharp geometrical structure is a sharp contrast to Scharoun’s neighbouring Berlin Philharmonic, built only a few years before. Whereas Scharoun was much more expressionist and concealed his structure with organic shapes, eliminating any kind of symmetry, Mies van der Rohe opted to show the structure in every possible way.
All these structural and compositional elements form Mies van der Rohe’s pavilion, his last great design and one of the most important buildings of modern architecture. The New National Gallery may ‘succeed magnificently as a work of art in itself’ but it has been criticised widely as an exhibition space. In his pursuit of the column-free clear-span pavilion Mies may have compromised certain aspects of the gallery and its functionality as an exhibition space.
Whilst the lower ground galleries and the sculpture garden ‘fulfil their purposes admirably’ ‘, the pavilion above disappoints in significant ways. In the upper floor, light floods the pavilion from its glass walls on all sides and can be regulated by white curtains on three sides. There’s also a lighting system in the roof with warm diffuse light. However, in exhibition spaces, diffused indirect lighting from above is more ideal, modifiable by blinds and electric light only if necessary. The sideways illumination in combination with the lighting from above fails badly. Pictures are inadequately lit and there is a strong glare compromising the visitors comfort in viewing the artwork. The curtains partially eliminate the glare but compromise the gallery’s visual transparency which is its strongest feature therefore defeating the purpose of the large spans of glass walls. In his drive for the translucent pavilion, Mies seems to have compromised the viewers comfort and experience of viewing the exhibited artwork.
Moreover, the upper pavilion which Mies was so determined to create as a multifunctional space, is not as successful. Though its large-scale is suitable for exhibiting large objects and the side-lighting lights such objects beautifully, the space is unsuitable for smaller paintings. Smaller paintings are lost in the grand scale of the pavilion. It seems that Mies van der Rohe’s vision of the column-free pavilion fails as an exhibition space. Ironically, the lighting and grand-scale of the upper floor seem to restrict the space’s use to certain types of exhibitions, rather than adding to the infinitely flexible space that Mies van der Rohe envisioned.
As a result, this infinitely flexible space turned out to be unfriendly for exhibiting art but Mies was unapologetic. ‘It is such a huge hall that of course it means great difficulties for the exhibiting of art. I am fully aware of that. But it has such potential that I simply cannot take those difficulties into account.’
He considered the gallery a closed form, perfect in itself and would not allow any modification that would alter its perfectly symmetrical form. For example, when it was proposed to extend the flower floor to gain functional space that was very much needed for the gallery, a change that would in actual fact be invisible, Mies van der Rohe refused to ruin the careful proportions between the two floors. The lack of substantial functional space, and the unwillingness to do anything about it, further demonstrates that Mies compromised the building’s functionality as an exhibition space in his effort to create the perfectly proportional Miesian pavilion.
Though the upper floor may not be perfectly suitable for exhibiting and viewing paintings, it is the gallery’s primary architectural expression. The building is the result of many gradual steps in Mies van der Rohe’s journey towards the column-free pavilion and is considered a shining symbol of modern architecture. ‘Here is a 20th Century icon of timeless serenity and composure, its functional imperfections forgotten as one contemplated its majesty as a monument and symbol.’
The way it sits on its site, its simple yet careful composition, along with its visible structure and use of materials make it a true Berlin monument which expresses the spirit of the industrial time in which it was designed and built. From a must-see tourist attraction and symbol of Berlin in post stamps, to a home for 20th Century European art, Mies van der Rohe’s last project and all the ideas it embodies represents one of the most important buildings of 20th Century architecture. ‘Buildings such as this will refresh us by awakening all the more man’s deep desire for poetic serenity and structural honesty.’
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is largely considered as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. In every building his intentions are straightforward and his concepts of truth to structures, materials and harmonious composition are stated clearly. By this point in his career, he had developed the ideas he was most passionate about and incorporated them into the New National Gallery. It is with this project that Mies van der Rohe managed to create the column-free pavilion he had been striving for the most of his career. It stands as a monument in its context and embodies his most important principles, thus rendering it as a building of great significance for 20th century architecture.

Biography of Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German pianist and composer in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic ages of Western music. Ludwig was born in the city of Bonn, Germany on December 16th, 1770 and died March 26th, 1827 in Vienna Austria. He has been one of the most influential musicians of all times. He was a very talented person and he was and still is recognized worldwide

Beethoven had two younger brothers, Caspar and Johann, who survived into adulthood. His mother was Maria Magdalena van Beethoven and his father was Johann van Beethoven, a not very good court singer known for his alcoholism more than his career. Ludwig grandfather and godfather was one of the most eminent musicians in the city of Bonn.

Beethoven started his carrier sometime before he was six years old. His alcoholic father would teach him music in a very rigorous and abusive way. According to Knapp, Raymond L., the family went through hard time since his grandfather died in 1773 and his father became alcoholic. His father would beat him if he didn’t practice or if his practice was not up to part, he would also lock him up in the cellar and deprive him from sleep. His first recital was for Empress Maria Theresa and he was only seven years old at the time. Although he was impressive, he was overlooked by the press as a prodigy child.

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At the age of 11, Ludwig had to withdraw from school as he struggled with learning disabilities. It is suspected that he might have had suffered from mild dyslexia. He would say that “Music comes to me more readily than words.” His father also wanted him to study music full time. In 1780 the nominated as a court organist of Christian Gottlob Neefe, became Beethoven’s teacher and two years later, June 1782 Beethoven became Neefe’s assistant as a court organist, making a small salary. Neefe was the one that introduced Beethoven to Johann Sebastian Bach’s music and at the age of 12, Beethoven had “his first extant composition (Nine Variation on a March Dressler) published at Mannheim.” In the same year, he was appointed continuo player to the Bonn opera. Four years later, in1787, he was making a big progress and Maximilian Francis, archbishop, was persuaded to send Ludwig to Vienna, the European capital of culture and music, with the hopes that he would study with an eminence, Mozart. He stayed there for a couple of weeks but he had to go back as his mother got ill. He stayed at his home town, Bonn, building up his reputation as a promising court musician.

In 1790, the 19-year-old young man, was asked to compose a musical memorial in the honor of the Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II, who had passed away. His piece was never performed for reasons that remain unveiled, but a hundred years later, this piece was discovered by Johannes Brahms. Its title was Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II and Brahms describes it as “beautiful and noble”. It is considered Beethoven’s earliest masterpiece.

In 1792 due to the French revolution turmoil, Beethoven decided to go back to Vienna to keep studying music. As Mozart had passed away that year making Joseph Haydn the greatest composer alive, Beethoven sought his tutoring. Ludwig immersed himself in the music studies; he learnt piano lessons from Haydn, vocal composition from Antonio Salieri and counterpoint with Johann Albrechtsberger. He was recognized as a virtuoso pianist who excelled at improvising. He soon gained recognition from the Viennese aristocracy, who offered him funding and lodging so he wouldn’t be monetary tied to the Electorate of Cologne. He made his much expected public debut on March 29, 1795.

In 1796, Beethoven commenced his first tour simultaneously with other music publications. Solo and chamber music was mainly the kind of music that he would work on during this time. Some examples of his rising work were Two Cello Sonatas; the Piano Sonata in E-flat; the Three String Trios, and the Three Piano Sonatas. Only after having composed those pieces, he decided to work on the string quartet. One of the main pieces composed during 1798-1800 period was The Six String Quartets, which would mean Beethoven was moving up as a music prominence and he was also showing his similarities with Haydn and Mozart. His quartets continue to be today the foundation of the kind of literature.

Beethoven never got married or had children. Some letters were found, indicating that he was very much in love with a married woman called Antonie Brentano. He used to call her the “Immortal Beloved”. He would write to her not only poems but also every day complaints. After his brother Caspar died, he went into a custody battle with his sister in-law. After several years, he got the custody of his nephew Karl van Beethoven, but he never had a good relationship with him. Beethoven has been often described as lonely, short-tempered, absent minded. Family feuds were a constant in his life and he was always fighting with his publishers, pupils, patrons.

Around 1800 Ludwig started having health problems. He was losing his hearing and by 1816, he was completely deaf. He was very private about his hearing loss. He started only confiding to those he trusted most but were furthest from him, the people that lived in Bonn. In a letter to his friend Franz Wegeler, he confessed that he had been attending for almost two years social functions because he could not admit that he was deaf.  He hearing was lost over time so he would ask his visitors to write down what they wanted to tell him in notebooks. These were called “Conversation Books”.

Despite losing his hearing he never stopped working, and in 1802, he concluded his Second Symphony. This symphony would be described as “noble, energetic, and proud”.

Personal problems would start to interfere with Beethoven’s mind. He declared in a letter to Wenzel Krumpholz that he was not satisfied with what he had composed up till then and he intended to embark on a new path. After that he got into what it was called the “Heroic” Period. His music was vocal and dramatic. One of the pieces of this period was Sturm und Drang with his signature key of C minor.

According to Castillo, Beethoven in 1803 wrote the Third Symphony that was the best of the whole Western music. This piece was originally entitled the “Bonaparte Symphony”, as Beethoven showed great admiration for Napoleon as the main representative of the French Revolution ideals but later it was renamed due to his disappointment with Napoleon.

Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies throughout his life. According to Wildridge, Justin the three best are: Symphony No.3 in E flat major; Op.55 (The Eroica) – 1803. “The sketches show a minimum of false starts and detours. The most radical ideas were present from the start…”[1] As a musical form, the Third Symphony broke the mold and became the longest work Beethoven had composed until this time. The two symphonies that had come before really gave no clue that the next would be such a departure. It is a highly original work and represents a quantum leap forward for Beethoven as a composer.2. Symphony No.5 in C minor; Op.67 (1807-8), it is the opening motif that sounds now in the human conscious. Four notes played on the off-beat begin the entire work in such a simple fashion but to tremendous effect. 3. Symphony No.9 in D minor; Op.125 (The Choral) (1823-4), Like the Eroica, the Ninth Symphony is an enormous, four movement work for large orchestral and choral forces.  It is these choral forces that bring the best-known element to this symphony in the form of Beethoven’s setting of the Schiller poem titled “Ode to Joy” (1785), in the finale. Similar to the Fifth Symphony, the Ninth Symphony uses the Romantic concepts of struggle, destiny, love and rejoicing as the spirit prevails against the odds.”( Wildridge, Justin). He was completely deaf at the time.

Beethoven is one of the greatest music eminences in this period of musical history and also of all times. He learnt the musical Classical traditions from the best, Mozart and Joseph Haydn. His shyness caused that he could only express himself through music, creating some of the most beautiful pieces of music there are in the world. The fact that he was deaf while he was composing shows the brilliance of his mind and resilience, that only a human being of his caliber could achieve. During Beethoven’s short life span, he was an active person that loved what he did and never quit till his death. His creations still today being study not only as a simple piece of written of music, they are study as literature content.

Beethoven died on March 26th, 1827, he was 56 years old and the cause was post-hepatic cirrhosis of the liver. His last words were: “Plaudite, amici, commedia finita est” – “Friends applaud, the Comedy is over”. His death was actually a tragedy to the world.

Work Cited

Beethoven’s Deafness – Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Website,

Castillo, Patrick. “Ludwig Van Bethoven.”The Saint Paul Chamber Orchesta, 14 May 2015,

Knapp, Raymond L. and Julian Medforth Budden. “Ludwig Van Bethoven.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 22 Mar. 2019,

Ludwig Van Beethoven,

“Ludwig Van Beethoven.”, A&E Networks Television, 19 Apr. 2019,

Wildridge, Justin. “Dr Justin Wildridge.”CMUSE, 1July 2018,   beethoven-symphonies/.


Analysis of the Hermann Lange House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Formal Analysis: Hermann Lange House
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Dr. Josef Esters and Hermann Lange, both directors of the Union of Silk Weaving and close friends, commissioned Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to construct two neighboring private houses and gardens between 1928 and 1930 in Krefeld, Germany. Hermann Lange was an established collector of modern art and had many connections within Berlin. It is likely that he gained the contact of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Bauhaus where Lange would have learned basic technical skills such as weaving and dyeing at the specialized textile school. As a result, the director of the Bauhaus at the time, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was commissioned to employ his architectural language to combine the conventional space of an industrialist’s residence with a new architecture. As of now, both these homes are owned by the German city of Krefeld where they have been repurposed to act as exhibits and local art museums for contemporary art (and only open to the public during such events).

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The Hermann Lange house, which sits adjacent to the Ester property, consists of unadorned red-brick boxes that are offset and interlock with one another. Large windows stand throughout the home enabling views of the landscaped garden. Although not identical, the Ester and Lange homes balanced each other with their geometric designs and building material of backed brick. Within this building and especially in the open-plan interior, Mies creates a new and innovative approach to designing an interior and exterior space that brings harmony to each other.
While the exterior of the Hermann Lange house consists of red brick, this structure is actually one of the first modern buildings where the use of brick was no longer essential to the construction of the building. Instead, the baked-brick stucco exterior walls and façade creates a monolithic effect. Even though the entire interior structure was never fully realized, the inside is similar to the interlocking exterior. Within the modern upper middle-class home, Mies was still able to design with a conventional layout plan included detached living areas, lockable doors, display cabinets, and sideboards. While Mies van der Rohe typically designed single floor residential buildings, he incorporates various floors and levels to the Lange House. Mies accomplished this by planning low supporting walls, where part of the garden was aligned with the terrace level. Another remarkable feature of the Hermann Lange house was its park-like garden. Since the plans for the garden itself have been destroyed, only art historians have been responsible for deducing a theory of its layout. Nonetheless, when analyzing the layout of the property it becomes clear that though the building is sectioned off from the public by strategically placed plants and groups of trees, there are stepped terraces to allow for access from the living space to the gardens and onto the street. Mies designed the garden, from its paths and flower patterns, to resemble the continuity of interior and exterior spaces. When entering the property, the long driveway bordered by mirroring shrubs on both sides directs the viewer’s sight towards the terrace before focusing on the uniformity between the and home and grand lawn. The trees and shrubbery also act similar to a backdrop working to frame the landscape. Even nearly 100 years after its creation, the Hermann Lange house is a paradigm of architectural modernism as a result of Mies’ ability to capture a bright interior that is both spacious and transparent.
The structure is supported by a steel frame, thus allowing for the minimal decorative stucco like brick façade and large holes cut in to allow for large windows. The hidden steel framed cantilevered balconies and canopies support the heavy looking brickwork. Mies was intrigued by the aesthetic aspects of the building, as evidenced by these large open windows. However, there was some pushback to this design, especially from Mies’ friend and static load expert, Ernst Walter. Walter argued that these early uses of steels must be carefully calculated and rely on precise configuration as opposed to stylistic choices. Ironically, though it is not noticeable to the viewer, there is a clash between the structural components and the aesthetic exterior. At the time of its construction, it was believed that to allow for sufficient air and light the building should be only detached or semi-detached. Perhaps Mies was influenced by the work of De Stijl in terms of transitioning away from the emphasis of a structurally engineered style and towards a more fluid and open work. Some traditional architectural design was incorporated in Lange’s house by Mies van der Rohe but appears that his intention was to inject the modern Bauhaus style as evidenced by the clear geometrical form. Similar to the landscape, the large stretches of grass, straight paths and flower beds follow simple architectural concepts, reflecting the unity of the outer and inner spaces. 
While Mies van der Rohe specialized in various types of building projects, I believe that he was successful in this residential home as he fused the architectural rhythm of the building with its surrounding spaces including nature. With the use of large picture windows, and the seclusion from the streets provided by the woods, there is a powerful connection between the interior space and the outdoors. Although there are various separated rooms, Mies creates a sense of fluidity inside the home which is reflected by the free and open garden. The entrance leads to the largest and most significant room of the building, the circular flowing living hall space that acts as the nucleus of the home. In addition, the repetitious large windows, terraces, and shrubbery covered paths guide the viewer’s perspective to two scenes: one view of the geometric landscape and the other of the well-proportioned Hermann Lange building leaving the client with a sense of tranquility.

Davies, Colin. “Key Houses of the Twentieth Century.” Google Books, Google, 17 Oct. 2006,
“H. Lange House by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe at GreatBuildings.” GreatBuildings, 2013,
“Lange House: Esters House.” Grand Tour of Modernism,
“Lange & Esters House – Data, Photos & Plans.” WikiArquitectura,