Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Artisanal arts of Liechtenstein cover a number of handicrafts like basket weaving, woodcarving, pottery, and other similar skills. They’re known for making elaborate rakes and for their elaborately designed postage stamps. Many of their stamps are based on paintings from Liechtensteiner artists. For Liechtensteiners, art is about the skill and the creativity that goes into the artist’s works. And art for them is not strictly tied to the canvas: it’s in its architecture, handicrafts, public art sculptures, and wall murals. 

Liechtenstein celebrates a vibrant art scene. Art museums and galleries are popular destinations and special exhibits often bring in many people. And as far as mediums of art go—photography, graphic arts, painting, sculpting, filmmakers—Liechtensteiners embrace all of them.  

Because Liechtenstein is located between several of the major art capitals of Europe—Italy, Germany, France—there are plenty of influences and art schools to be found nearby as well. Many art students travel abroad to study at some of the most historically acclaimed art schools in Europe. The government strives to promote the arts as a means of preserving their history and culture. The Liechtenstein School of Art is the leading art school in the country. Not only are there classes for adults, but they also offer age-appropriate lessons for children and teenagers as well. The school has classes in the classical arts like painting, drawing, and sculpting, but modern arts like graphic art, graffiti, photography, and jewelry making are also popular. 

One of the more famous artists from this tiny country is Hans Kliemand. He spent many years studying drawing and painting in Germany but returned to capture the landscape and the flora and fauna. Several of his works were presented to the prince and subsequently used for postage stamps. 

Literature from Liechtenstein is primarily written in German. In fact, it’s the smallest German-speaking country in the world. In an interview with Stefan Sprenger, a short story writer from Liechtenstein, he discussed the fact that because Liechtenstein is small (among other reasons), being a writer is often isolating. There are certainly other writers from this country despite its size, but that there is no strong national literary lineage. There’s no great group of writers who emerged at one point, setting off new trends in writing literature from and/or about life in Liechtenstein. It’s just not really there.

However, if you look closer, you’ll find there actually is a small but growing literary scene. With the efforts of Literature House and Theater am Kirchplatz, writers do gather together and focus their efforts with workshops and events. Along with Sprenger, other writers like Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Iren Nigg, Jens Dittmar, Mathias Ospelt, Evi Kliemand, and Hansjörg Quaderer not only promote their own works but literature in general in the hopes of creating a literary history.  

The Liechtenstein State Library, known simply as the State Library, also doubles as a copyright and patent library. It’s actually a government-run library, at least in the sense that the government appoints the library board members. Not only does it catalogue books, music and other works by Liechtensteiners, but it also handles works about the country as well. There are a number of other libraries holding various special collections: the National Teacher’s Library and the Princely Liechtenstein Library.

Up next: music and dance

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