Journey of discovery

Norbert Kottmann – „… und er warf sein Antlitz zur Erde“ (Gethsemane)

Norbert Kottmann, „… und er warf sein Antlitz zur Erde“ (Gethsemane), 2017, digital print, 86 x 118 cm, loan of the artist, © Norbert Kottmann

His first encounter with Dürer’s Christus am Ölberg 1521 made a lasting impression on Norbert Kottmann. The small pen-and-ink drawing was created during Dürer’s journey to the Netherlands and shows the pleading Christ, throwing himself to the ground, face down, and with arms outstretched. In front of him, a small angel is holding out the cup of sorrow. Dürer has repeatedly dealt with the Agony in the Garden scene, which addresses the dual nature of Christ as man and God. 

Especially the radical depiction of deep emotional distress and how it was overcome has touched Kottmann. During a trip to Israel, he relives this scene of the Passion. “…und er warf sein Antlitz zur Erde“ (Gethsemane) shows him in the same place, in the middle of a stream of visitors, at the mercy of the masses, some of whom are stepping over him. The second picture Auf dem Toten Meer (zwischen Himmel und Erde) seems like a mental escape to another place. Completely isolated, carried by the water, he surrenders himself to the realm between heaven and earth.


“Auf dem Toten Meer” (zwischen Himmel und Erde)