Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Much of the earliest art forms were in sculptures in the Roman style. Greek and Roman mythology often played an important part of their artistic influences during the antiquity years. Besides stone and terracotta, bronze was also a common medium used for sculptures.  

Religious artwork like the Codex of Aureus of Echternach, which was an illuminated Gospel, was also among the most common works of art during the 10th-12th centuries. The Codex of Aureus is probably the most famous from this time period. 

Van der Meulen
Artists during the 16th began utilizing different styles, mediums, and subjects for their art. Landscapes began to become popular, and what better scenery than the City of Luxembourg itself. No matter the artist or artistic style, the city has drawn artists from all over to paint and sketch its surroundings and cityscape, albeit a much smaller cityscape back then.

Jean-Baptiste Fresez
By the time the 19th century rolled around, artists began to take pride in being Luxembourgers. The people, their clothes, the best places in the country, its culture all became the subject of this newfound nationalistic pride. Well-known artists during this time include Jean-Baptiste Fresez (probably the most important), Nicolas Liez (one of Fresez’ students), and Michel Engels. Luxembourg also attracted artists from abroad as well, such as J.M.W. Turner (British artist) and Victor Hugo (French author and artist).

Nico Klopp
The early 20th century brought forth a period of great creativity among Luxembourger artists. Although artists were introduced to a number of arts movements that were popular throughout Europe at the time, many Luxembourger artists gravitated toward expressionism and impressionism. Watercolors seem to be a favorite medium for many painters. Throughout the latter part of the 20th century, many artists began to break from the mold and push the boundaries of their art. Surrealism and abstract art began to drift into the art coming from their studios. Artists who made a name for themselves during the 20th century include Joseph Kutter (considered the most successful painter in Luxembourg), Dominique Lang (impressionist painter), Nico Klopp (post-impressionist paintings of the Moselle River), Frantz Seimetz (impressionist portraits and landscapes), Sosthène Weis (created over 5000 watercolor paintings, mostly of the city of Luxembourg), Claus Cito (sculptor), Emile Kirscht (abstract artist who worked with acrylics), Michel Stoffel (prominent painter), Foni Tissen (hyperrealist artist, often with dark humor), Gust Graas (abstract painter), Lucien Wercollier (abstract sculptor), and Su-Mei Tse (award-winning abstract artist). 

Literature in Luxembourg is either written in French, German, or Luxembourgish (which, to me, seems like a cross between German and Dutch). The very earliest religious works were written in Latin, the language of the church. In 1999, a manuscript called the Codex Mariendalensis was discovered. It’s estimated it was written around the year 1283 after the death of Yolanda of Vianden. The manuscript consists of 1263 lines of rhyming couplets telling the story of Yolanda’s life and written in a German dialect that served (more or less) as the predecessor of the Luxembourgish language. 

It wouldn’t be until the 19th century when the country would begin to create its own identity. Luxembourgish also began to be used more as a language of literature. During this time, only French and German were used as administrative languages. Antoine Meyer published a set of poems written in Luxembourgish, making him the first person to do so. Edmond de la Fontaine, also known by the nom de plume Dicks (how unfortunate), was known for his contributions to Luxembougher theatre. Michel Lentz, widely revered for his poetry, also wrote the lyrics to their national anthem. 

Two of the most influential authors of the 20th century in the literary scene in Luxembourg were Batty Weber and Nik Welter. Batty Weber wrote short stories, novels, poetry, and some theatrical works, but he was also a journalist. He was known for his commentary on the culture of Luxembourg. Nik Welter was a poet, writer, and playright, but he was also a professor, a critic, and a statesman. Anise Koltz, often considered one of Luxembourg’s most successful contemporary authors, started out writing in German and Luxembourgish, but now only writes in French. She’s won several awards for her works. Jean Portante is another author who writes in French. Jean Krier is an award-winning poet who writes in German. Although some authors wrote in French or German, which may have a larger international readership base, some authors choose to write in Luxembourgish. After Luxembourgish was proposed to be added as an official language only in the 1980s, several authors gave this more of a solid claim and piqued interest in the language by writing in their local language. Authors such as Nico Helminger, Josy Braun, Jean-Michel Treinen, Georges Hausemer, Jhemp Hoscheit, Guy Rewenig, and Roger Manderscheid were known for writing in Luxembourgish.

Up next: music and dance

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