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The Cover
May 13, 1998

Rising Moon

JAMA. 1998;279(18):1419. doi:10.1001/jama.279.18.1419

In Dresden, in 1905, four young architectural students determined that they would change the face of modern painting—indeed, the face of the world itself. The youngest among them, Karl Schmidt-Rotluff (1884-1976), suggested the name for the group: Die Brücke, after the bridge motif in Nietzsche's Also sprach Zarathrustra. They—Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Kirchner, and Schmidt-Rotluff—would be the bridge between the worn ideals of the 19th century and the new era of the 20th century; their painting, drawing, and printmaking (in which none had ever had any academic training) would be their instrument. In 1911, the group, which soon had acquired not only other German artists but artists from other parts of Europe as well, moved from Dresden to Berlin. In 1913, owing largely to disagreements and conflict with Ernst Kirchner, the self-described "heart" and self-appointed chronicler of the movement (JAMA covers, February 18, 1998, and April 1, 1998), the group was formally dissolved, though each of the members continued to paint individually. The influence of Die Brücke lived on, however, and it might be considered the forerunner of what is today called German Expressionism.

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