Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


25.9.09
  The Defeated Varus

Der gescheiterte Varus is the title of a 2.30 m bronze statue in Haltern am See. It was created by Wilfried Koch in 2003 and shows Varus at the moment of his defeat; the legions lost and maybe the province Germania as well, Arminius whom he trusted turned traitor.

Wilfried Koch (born 1929) is a German artist and art historian, and member of the European Academy of Science and Arts. His book about 'European Architecture from Antiquity to Present Time' (1982) has become one of the standard books about the subject and was translated into 20 languages. He added a great number of his own pencil drawings as illustrations.

Koch has painted more than a thousand portraits and since 1982 works mostly in sculpture. His bronze statues, created in wax melting technique, have become famous for their strong facial expressions and their over-large hands. Body and limbs are shaped of open shells. Most of his statues portray figures from mythology and Christian iconography (Lilith, Eva, Franciscus, Prophet, among others)

I admit I'm not much into modern sculpture, but the face of Varus' statue did impress me. You have to see it live to fully appreciate it; there is so much hopelessness and emotional pain - you can almost hear him say, "why, Arminius, why?"

Closeup of the head

Wilfried Koch says that he creates sculptures of humans in emotional and existential borderline situations, and that he wants to stir the beholder into responding with his own emotions and thoughts. The strange thing is that once you get used to his style and the 'rough' look, it works.

Closeup of the face from a different angle

When I walked towards the statue, situated in a little park outside the town centre, my first reaction was, oh dear, another of those odd looking modern thingies. But then I stood a while and looked into Varus' face. Spellbound almost.
 
Comments:
I agree the face is evocative, but the hands kinda creep me out...
 
You're right about the face. It is full of emotion. Those hands are just weird though. :)
 
The statue evokes emotion, especially striking in the close-up photo, and the hands render a sense of power lost.
 
Gabriele

In the first picture the left hand makes the image.

You can feel Varsus' pain and shock at the realiztion.
 
Strange, and haunting.
 
Thank you, everyone.

Yes, haunting is a good word to describe the statue. I didn't find the hands creepy but just odd, though I thnk Debra and Hank have a point- the hands are surely part of the image.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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