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Arno Breker Bas Relief: "The Avenger"


This bas-relief by Arno Breker shows a man in combat with serpents. It is a classical symbol, which depicts the fight against evil. The model was a sportsman in 1940.

Photograph Copyright: Marco-VG, Bonn


Berlin/Los Angeles/New York (bpb) Among the collections of bas-reliefs, there is a masterpiece by the sculptor Arno Breker. The work from 1940 is titled "Der Rächer" (The Avenger). The artwork is only 11 x 9 centimeters large. It is made of solid bronze, silver-plated. Breker made this work as the first model for a larger relief for a building.

The Avenger is an ancient, classical symbol for fighting for the fight against evil, depicted by the deadly serpent. In our 21st century, this motive is more popular than ever. The free world is now engaged in a battle against terrorism. Breker started making reliefs when he was young. During the 20th century, many artists made small format reliefs, among them Moissey Kogan in Paris and Germany. The cameo is also a kind of bas-relief, the smallest work of its kind. For this kind of work, the artist needs to have a high level craftsmanship.

Breker made both cameos of one inch in size, as well as reliefs of up to eight meters high. His reliefs are in the collection of Breker Museum at the Nörvenich Castle near Köln, as well on public buildings in Germany.

Bas-reliefs have a tradition that goes back thousands of years. We see them in all the cultures in history. And especially in ancient Greece, in the Archaic period (from the 7th century BC to 450 BC), reliefs were popular as decorations in public buildings, temples and palaces. Still today, art lovers collect reproductions of this kind of art works from Egypt, Greece, the Incas and from Asian temples.

The US Museum of European Art in Clarence (www.meaus.com) started a new collection of reliefs by artists of our time. To these belong the sculptor Kurt Arentz, Detlef Krebs, Siegfried Lunau, Marko Donst. They work in the tradition of Aristide Maillol, Arno Breker, Charles Despiau, Salvador Dali, Ernst Fuchs, and Paul Belmondo. In France, the Musée des Plans et Reliefs (Hotel national des Invalide, 75007 Paris) has a large collection of this kind of art. In the United States, the Paul Getty Museum (The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles) has an important collection of bas reliefs and reliefs of various kinds. These sculptures are beautiful additions to enhance the wall hanging art both in private houses and also in public buildings.



Copyright 2002 West-Art

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, Politics and Science, Nr. 86, Spring 2003