A Great Multi-Material Picture

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano. Foto: Lorenzo Palmieri

In September 2015, eleven years after it was unveiled, the permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces was complemented by five large paintings, which Anselm Kiefer had made between 2009 and 2013. These works give new meaning to the towers, expanding the issues they address: great architectural constructions of the past appear as man’s attempt to ascend to the divine, but they also examine the history of the West, the constellations in the form of astronomical numbers and, lastly, man’s relationship with nature.Since the 1970s, the German artist has been using materials such as lead, wood, sand, straw and seeds to create his paintings, giving them a dense, material consistency.

Focus Areas

  • Art and image
  • History

Educational Objectives
During the guided tour with the arts tutors, the children will find out what materials Anselm Kiefer used when making the five large paintings in the exhibition space and what the significance of each one is.
The aim of the activity is to show the pupils how crucial the choice of a material is for creating a work of art, since it brings about new visual forms, new compositions and new stories to interpret.

The class will be divided into groups during the workshop and each one will make their own multi-material painting, taking inspiration from the paintings in the exhibition, and using the materials provided, which will include sand, seeds, straw and bits of wood.
At the end of the session, the works will be placed next to each other to create just a single vast canvas.


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