Saturday, March 20, 2010

Germany and Its Culture Essay

Essay on Germany and Its Culture

Germany has a rich culture built upon a foundation of Art, Literature, Sports, Food, and Music. Due to Germany's war torn past many of its modern day aspects are very different from that of our own, But very similar in other ways. Its art, literature and music have gone through a sort of renaissance that have helped evolve the culture into one very much its own. With its own style and grace that makes Germany the country it is today.

"Art in Germany has evolved very much in the past 50 years. From the rubble of the holocaust and world wars, a new and exciting breed of artist has emerged. "A variety of innovative and avant-garde styles that transformed the artistic landscape of Germany between the establishment of the Wilhelmine Empire in 1871, and Hitler's takeover of the short-lived Weimar Republic in 1933. This period of cataclysmic political and social change also witnessed the dramatic rise of the artistic movement called Expressionism."(German Art)

Germany has a wide variety of art history that accounts for its vast array of modern art styles. Expressionism is a style of art in which the purpose is not to reproduce a subject accurately, but instead to portray it in such a way as to express the inner state of the artist. The movement is associated with Germany in particular, and was influenced by such powerful styles as symbolism, fauvism and cubism. Such artists that made this style popular were, Franz von Stuck, Kathe Kollwitz, and Emil Nolde. (Artists)

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Much of the Art of today has a very strong patriotic and nationalistic nature to the works. They are very much influenced by the happenings of world war one. There have been many paintings memorializing the horrific events of that era that still haunt many people. Shortly after the end of world war one there were many events held to showcase the works of art that were being painted. Much of this art was very patriotic. This was the cause of much controversy in Germany in the mid 1900's. The debate between the socialist third Reich and the newly freed liberalists that were held captive during the war was fueled by these exhibitions. But while it was a source of controversy it also help to bring people together as groups and form strong bonds that still hold strong today.

Another major art style that helped define the art of today's Germany is "symbolist". The first major exhibition of German Symbolist art was held in Britain. In the Birmingham Museum, and Art Gallery. This was the first time British audiences had a chance to witness this remarkable period of creativity in Germanys culture. "Erotic and challenging images of fantasy and legend are depicted in the works of artists such as Arnold Bocklin, Max Beckmann, Franz Von Stuck and Max Klinger."( KINGDOM)

Paintings were not the only part of Germany’s artistic community that grew during this period. Sculpture and other forms of art had a rebirth, but no where near that of the painters emergence. Some of the more famous sculptures of the time are Van der Straeten, Hans Reinhart, Benedikt Dreyer, and Loy Hering.

Germany's deep seeded roots in literature have helped develop an interesting and distinctive flavor that is found in much of Germany's modern day literature. Writers such as Bertolt Brecht, Anne Frank, Johann Goethe, and Franz Kafka have had some of the best selling books of all time. Not just in Germany but through out the world, a testament to their outstanding ability to capture an audience. They did so by writing pieces that held drama, action, and a sense of truth. “German poets, playwrights, and theatrical reformers whose epic theater departed from the conventions of theatrical illusion and developed the drama as a social and ideological forum for leftist causes.” (Bertolt)

Food and Music both have an important role in Germany's modern culture in both uniting Germans as a nation and help the nation maintain a sense of its roots. The foods most associated with Germany are Sauerkraut and Brautwurst, with a pitcher of lager. These traditional foods hold special meaning in the hearts of many Germans and will do so for years to come. But the food of today contains a variety of styles and flavors that vary throughout the different regions of Germany. Much of today’s cooking has switched to a lighter style of cooking, and also a revival of a more regional cuisine in Germany. “Germany is a very small country, with a lot of differences. The North is near the stormy North Sea with the Frisians, speaking a complete different language, and eating different things like "Labskaus," a mix of corned beef, potatoes, beet roots, herring and such, or gravied fishes, or "hamburger eel soup" which doesn't contain eel at all. Or it is the Germany of the South, with Bavaria and the Alps. They eat differently: Nice crusty "Braten" and they have "Brotzeit" a late breakfast with wonderful brown breads and "Wurst."( A Challenge) While German food still uses many of the same elements of the traditional style, such as using large amounts of oil and butter, some things have changed. The advances in health care have taught Germans that fats and oils have a less fattening effect on the body if not eaten with a starch to cause it not to be burned. So this is one of the main reasons for the change into a lighter style of cooking. But the foods of traditional Germany are still severed all over the country but not eaten on a regular basis as once was. Because of this they tend to hold an even greater importance to people reminiscing about their past and their roots. Foods such as braised beef with horseradish, potato pancakes fried with onion and butter, and mixed sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes are foods that help remind of the past.

The music of Germany has under gone many changes throughout the history of Germany. From the days of classical artists such as Motzart and Bach, to the industrial rock of today from bands like Ramstein. “But the roots that came from such great composers such as Mozart and bach, that have been influenced by the swing artists of the 40’s and 50’s, have come together to create an amalgam of sound and style that Germany and much of Europe and the America’s enjoys.”(Book) While there is an influence of the older styles of music, not much of that style is seen in the music of today. The modern music charts of Germany are populated by many of the same artists as our own charts but with a few key differences. Many more of the artists that reach fame in Germany are not as many “rap” or “pop” artists but more “dance” and “rock” groups. And there is also a large sub-culture of people that listen to and live a style of life that is to most very taboo and considered disgusting by most. They are a group that is very much influenced by Industrial rock and death metal bands. With Germany being such a conservative country, it seems as though it leave a large void left where openness and certain freedoms are suppressed and therefore create area’s of dark and twisted things that are expressed through music.

While this culture is not a large part of normal German life it does exist. But at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum there is the dance and club life that exists in Germany and in much of Europe. With anthems such as “99 left balloons” and bands like “Eiffel 65” playing rhythmic beats and captivating pulses much of Germany’s youth is sucked into the night life of clubbing, drugs, and promiscuity.

But despite the negative aspects of the extremes of the spectrum there is still a large population of people that listen to the pop rhythms of “Kylie Minouge” and “Justin Timberlake” that are normal and as a collective maintain a normal German ethic and sense of pride and togetherness in their country.

Sports are a big part of life in Germany. While there are many sports played in Germany such as baseball, basketball and rugby, one sport stands out above all others. Soccer is one of the most watched sports all over the world, and Germany is no exception. Its no secret that soccer fans are some of the most enthusiastic and loyal fans in the sports world. And Germans are no exception to that either. With riots and other maladies being the result of a lost or won soccer game. The experience of being in a country that enjoys soccer as much as Germany during a world cup game is one all its own. The amount of energy that is present all through the region is overwhelming. The sense of pride in the country that is displayed during the event shows that this sport helps to bring a country together as a whole.

Another sport that Germany is famous for is auto racing. With its high speed autobahn’s and very fast racing circuits such as the Neurenburg Germany’s racing style is distinct and interesting. With automakers competing for the top spot in the racing world, companies such as BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes back some of the most technologically advanced race teams in the world. This makes for very fast and very competitive racing that is very easy to get caught up in. And the availability of this race technology on the streets of the autobahn, where speeds of two hundred plus miles per hour are seen on a daily basis. As seen in many situations of intense competition, there is a brotherhood that forms between individuals that makes the entire group as a whole stronger and more united. Because of the past history and present rebuilding of the country that is Germany, there is a great variety in many aspects of German life. Everything from food to sports has its own styles, all of which as a whole make up one great land. And culture cannot be considered great without variety.

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