Blackboard Drawings, 1919–1924

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Blackboard Drawings, 1919–1924

“Did Rudolf Steiner dream these things? Did he dream them as they once occurred, at the beginning of all time? They are, for sure, far more astonishing than the demiurges and serpents and bulls found in other cosmogonies.” — Jorge Luis Borges

Rudolf Steiner recorded his views of the world in numerous books, as well as in more than five thousand lectures. Through his lectures in particular, he expanded his ideas on a wide range of subjects, including education, science, social issues, the arts, architecture, medicine and therapy, and agriculture.

Steiner generally spoke freely, using only minimal notes. But when explaining conceptually difficult topics, he frequently illustrated what he had to say in color, using chalk on a large blackboard. After his earlier lectures, the drawings were erased and irretrievably lost, but after autumn 1919, the blackboards were covered by heavy black paper so that the drawings could be rolled up afterward and preserved.

The trustees of Rudolf Steiner’s estate in Dornach, Switzerland, are safekeepers of a thousand such drawings, which visually document Steiner’s views of the world and his creative ways of thinking. A selection of the drawings was first shown to the public in 1992. Since then, numerous exhibitions in Europe, America, and Japan have generated significant interest in Rudolf Steiner’s views and teachings.

Includes illuminating contributions by Martina Maria Sam, Wolfgang Zumdick, and Taja Gut.

This volume was originally published in German as Wie ein Atmen im Licht. Wandtafelzeichnungen von Rudolf Steiner 1919–1924 (Like breathing in the light. Blackboard drawings by Rudolf Steiner 1919–1924), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Switzerland, 2003.

C O N T E N T S:

Walter Kugler:
Cosmic Poetry –
Rudolf Steiner’s Blackboard Drawings

Martina Maria Sam:
Instantaneous Production out of the Spirit –
The Blackboard Drawings as “Thought Pictures”

Wolfgang Zumdick:
Upon a Black Background –
Notes on Rudolf Steiner’s Move toward an “Artistic Science

Blackboard Drawings with Quotations from the Lectures

Taja Gut:
A Point of Intersection in Time –
Notes on Rudolf Steiner

Bibliographical Listings (Drawings)
Biographical Listings (Texts)
Musical Compositions Inspired by the Drawings
Extracts from Press Reviews

About the Author

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.

Additional information

Weight 22 oz
Dimensions 10 × .75 × 10.25 in


Johanna Collis


Walter Kugler


Rudolf Steiner




July 2003






Rudolf Steiner Press


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