Astrology Musings: Helmut Ruhemann, definitive art restorer

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Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin By Rogier van der Weyden – a prime example of the restorative work of Helmut Ruhemann.

Helmut Ruhemann was one of the best and best known art conservators and restorers of the early to mid 20th century, who exuded a highly exacting and painstaking attitude towards his profession.

He kept full documentation of his work, as well as photographic records which continue to highlight the methods underlying art conservation to this day.

It is perhaps not surprising to find Helmut was a sun Taurean, but he was also born at the exact time of the New Moon (his chart ruler) with Mercury in close attendance in his 11th house. Here we have the epitome of patience and endurance, but also an appreciation of art as Taurus is ruled by Venus.

His Venus (Sun ruler) is actually in impatient, fiery Aries in the 10th house of career, in good aspect to Mars in Gemini.

An ardent love of art brought down to earth

This would have given him that initial, strong, ardent love and appreciation of art, the need to communicate and disseminate his knowledge of it, and also seek to make this his career (10th house and Mars house ruler).

However, the strong Taurean elements would have grounded this energy in totally practical ways, and this earthy activity being in the 11th house, means that he invariably sought share this with others in the same field as himself, as a way to make a body of knowledge within his profession.

I think we can also see here his willingness to use modern means, x rays for instance, in the process of restoration but only as a way to give a truer, more conservative result, totally in keeping with the original creation where elements like brushstrokes were left unaffected.

One of his most famous restorations is that of early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden’s Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin, a task which totally suited his exacting approach.

Nervous energy and home/career challenges

His Mars is at the apex of a fairly tight T-square involving an angular Jupiter Saturn opposition in mutable signs and houses. There is a lot of nervous energy here.

Jupiter is conjunct the MC here too, and whilst this may be an indication of career success, it clearly was no easy ride to the top, this energy being harnessed and funnelled down to quite precise, deliberate artistic channels.

The fact that he decided to leave his homeland of Germany in 1933 was probably all bound up with this, that natal Saturn exactly conjunct his IC (home, family, origin) maybe always left him feeling a sense of overriding duty, even privation at home (wherever that might be), especially so with Jupiter opposing, offering wider opportunities in the outside world, which he eventually found in Great Britain.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

source: Astro-Databank

***If you would like your own astrology report creating, or one for a loved one or friend, please contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com

Poem ‘Perpendicular’

I’ve been baffled by this talk of
perpendicular, amused by the students
drifting by
in lurid hats and long scarves. Some are arm-
in-arm, quite oblivious to me, their
languid strides taunting
my age.
It’s a peculiar English thing, this style
of architecture,
(I know it hurts you to say) but I pretend
not to care, because my
recall of art history class is minimal
at best, a choice
that perhaps I regret now in these
idle moments,
sitting hunched in this cafe on
the square, bleeding its pasts. Maybe I’m jealous of
these boys, their short-skirted girls
with dark tights going on forever. And that bell,
it has a continental ring; I see
other occupants here, the shadows
of angular men in martial grey, mingling
with the smiles and chat of stylish women. But
now I have to watch you eat, your
gannet-eyes sucking coffee, washing
down the sachertorte you wolf. The mere
thought of those cobbles out there just beyond
this warping glass— you know
they are as hard as the freeze
which grips this place, the tissue of
your frozen heart

© copyright David F. Barker 2012

The History of Art – Much Neglected

What a vast subject this is. Why have I left it so late to start learning it? The history of art is essentially the history of mankind and may point to our future. Maybe the next Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael… is alive now?