Anthroposophy in Art
An exploration of the anthroposophical movement and its existence in various Russian art forms of the 20th century.
(2) Anthroposophy


A philosophy based on the premise that the human intellect has the ability to contact spiritual worlds. It was formulated by Rudolf Steiner (q.v.), an Austrian philosopher, scientist, and artist.

Anthroposophy aimed to unite science and mysticism. Steiner believed in a spiritual world comprehensible only to pure thought, that could be accessed by the utilization of latent knowledge present in all humans.

Anthroposophy speaks to the need to relate to the world out of a scientific attitude of mind and to the need to relate to the world in complete freedom with judgments made on a purely individual basis. The Waldorf School, a system of education developed by Rudolf Steiner, argues that there are four basic levels or aspects of anthroposophy.

1. Anthroposophy is a spiritual philosophy, born out of a philosophy of freedom.

2. Anthroposophy is a type of spiritual science, or a path of knowledge, developed from European idealistic philosophies. It follows the trends of Aristotle, Plato, and Thomas Aquinas, and is primarily defined by its method of research, and secondarily defined by the value added by the journey to the end result. This interpretation of anthroposophy works to bridge the gaps between science, art, and religion. The organization which most promotes this interpretation is the School of Spiritual Science, with a center at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.

3. Anthroposophy can also be regarded as an impulse to nurture the life of the soul both in individuals and in society. This means that every person should be respected on the basis of their human characteristics. The chief vehicle for this interpretation is the Anthroposophical Society.

4. The fourth interpretation is that of practical or applied anthroposophy, which emerges in “daughter movements” of anthroposophy. The main movements in this category include the Waldorf Schools, mentioned above, biodynamic farming, anthroposophical medicine, and anthroposophical curative education.

“Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe. It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need. He alone can acknowledge anthroposophy, who finds in it what he himself in his own inner life feels impelled to seek. Hence only they can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of man and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst.”

[Steiner, Rudolf. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973]