In the seminars we will get to know Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and some of his central ideas, introducing the philosopher and his life as well as learning why he was important for art in the 20th century, specifically with the artists Paula Modersohn-Becker, Gabriele Münter, Käthe Kollwitz, Hannah Höch, Meret Oppenheim, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgouise, Henry van de Velde, Kazimir Malevitch, Otto Dix, Kirchner, de Kooning, Rothko, Jack B Yeats or Joseph Beuys. At the beginning of the course, students will be able to select one of the artists mentioned above to focus their studies on. During our analysis of the artists' works and lives, we will discuss form, technique and expression. The seminars will look at Nietzsche’s ideas on art, society and creativity beginning with a focus on his first book, Die Geburt der Tragödie. This will include an examination of his treatment and discussion of the concepts of Apollo and Dionysus. We will discover what it is that Nietzsche describes as the ‘necessary union’ of these two aesthetic forces and by close readings of art works, be able to apply them in our discussions. Students will critique the nature of appearance and illusion and the value of deception and artistry, in opposition to the values of truthfulness and tradition. 
What does Nietzsche mean by the phrase “Wir haben die Kunst, damit wir nicht an der Wahrheit zugrunde gehen”? Nachgelassene Fragmente. Students will be able to answer this and other questions regarding the value of creating illusion and playing with the possibilities of form and expression in life and in artistic practice. 
Students will learn in the seminars and through readings of Also Sprach Zarathustra, what Nietzsche’s ideas are regarding ‘free spirits’, looking at the process of ‘the camel, the lion and the child’ and 'herd morality' in the marketplace. During our readings on Thus Sprach Zarathustra there will be an emphasis on the biographies of the artists we choose as well as their art works, thereby placing emphasis on the importance of the life story of an artist in relation to their artistic corpus. 
At the conclusion of the course we will look at the first, third and fourth books of the Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, what Nietzsche’s ideas are about values and traditions, creativity and the embracing and affirmation of life by 'amor fati'. 
By undertaking close readings of major 20th century art works and Nietzsche’s philosophy, students will learn the importance of the historical context surrounding Nietzsche’s ideas and how these ideas and interpretations of Nietzsche influenced the results of 20th century art and life in Europe and the Americas after his death. 
The texts can be read in German or English translation and the seminars will be held in German and English.

Semester: WiSe 2022/23