To understand the paintings of the German painterMax Beckmann(1884 -1950) it is essential to know some facts and events that marked his biography
Bekcmann was born into a family of farmers, who left the countryside when he was born and moved to the city of Leipzig, in the east ofGermany. There he soon demonstrated his attitude to painting and as a teenager he moved to Weimar to study at the Academy of Arts. And also very young, before he was 20, he got married and traveled to places like Paris, Florence or Genoa until settling inBerlinin 1904.
Without a doubt, his passion for art was unstoppable, but a key event in his life was about to come. He arrived inWorld War I, and there he served in hospital care. But he had to end up discharged due to his nervous breakdown. Since then his painting has become much more expressionist than his earlier, more impressionistic nature.
After theGreat Warhe became a painting teacher inFrankfurtand stayed there until 1933, when the Nazis considered the his art was degenerate and he was expelled from there. Precisely at that time, at the beginning of the 30's, is when he began to paint triptychs like the one we see here. A pictorial formula that was influenced by the contemplation of the works of ElBosco.
In this case it is a triptych en titled The game, and it was Max Beckmann himself who gave the keys to understanding it. “On the right page you see yourself trying to find your way in the dark, lighting the hall and the staircase with a miserable oil lamp, dragging tied to you, as part of your being, the corpse of your memories.”
Everything in the painting has a very enigmatic tone and is undoubtedly inspired by the historical moment in which Germany and the painter himself lived, since that year of 1933 he had risen to the power Hitler. Hence the left part with the tortures suffered by human beings. Even so, there is some hope in the central canvas where a boat sets sail, an image of freedom that he described thus: “Freedom is the only thing that matters. It's the game, the new beginning.”
Something he experienced firsthand, since he had to leave his country and settle inAmsterdam. He lived there until 1947, when he emigrated toUnited States. There he would die in 1950 as a result of a heart attack he suffered while on his way to theMetropolitan Mueseum in New Yorkto see an exhibition of his. Today this painting is found in this same city, but in another of the main museums in the Big Apple: the MoMA.