About Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy or spiritual science, is also known for his achievements in various fields of art including those of architecture, sculpture and painting.

An essential part of his contribution towards the art of painting are the ‘training sketches’, which came about between 1922 and 1924 during his collaboration with the painter Henni Geck (1884-1951). She had asked Rudolf Steiner for help with her work as a painting teacher. In this way a new curriculum for a training in painting came about. Further ‘training sketches’ were executed by Steiner when he was asked by the teachers of the Friedwart School at the Goetheanum for indications for pedagogical painting. 

Also in his lectures Rudolf Steiner gave indications towards a new theory of colour and elucidated on many aspects of painting and colour. These aspects include: the two-dimensional picture surface; measure, number and weight in colour; colour and science; the role of painting and colour in education and in therapy; the production of plant-based pigments.

The ceiling painting motifs for the large and small cupolas of the first Goetheanum were the work of Rudolf Steiner, and he painted a large portion of the small cupola himself. 

Recommended books by Rudolf Steiner relating to painting and art:

  • Colour, CW 291
  • Art as seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom, CW 275
  • The Arts and their Mission, CW 276
  • Rosicrucianism Renewed –The Theosophical Congress of Whitsun 1907, CW 284
  • Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting of the First Goetheanum, CW 288
  • Architecture as Peacework, CW 287
  • Art as Spiritual Activity – Rudolf Steiner’s Contribution to the Visual Arts. Edited by Michael Howard, various CWs
  • Art History as a Reflection of Innter Spiritual Impulses, CW 292

CW stands for the ‘Collected Works’ of Rudolf Steiner. All titles are available from Rudolf Steiner Press, London.