Higher, Freer Life

Welcome to the website of David Lowe, researcher into the spiritual impulses active in cultural history.

Welcome

In their creative life some artists experience a higher, freer existence. When you look at their painting, listen to their music or read their poetry, you can yourself be lifted up yourself through empathy, to a higher, freer life.

My art historical research is a study of how spiritual impulses work through the artist’s soul into the historical development of humanity .The artist does not just reflect the growing consciousness of human beings but, through his awareness of the direction of human life, towards a higher free life, he is able to work into the formation of these historical processes.

Updates

All events below at Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Rd, London NW1 6XT

Monthly Art Talks
with David Lowe, MA Art History
1st Friday of the month: 7.30 to 8.45.
All welcome. There is no need to book
Suggested donation: £7 or £5 Concessions

December 3rd
The Forming of Raphael.
Raphael's father was a significant figure in the court of Urbino.  After his parents’ death, Raphael traveled through Central Italy and met many of the leading artists of the time including Leonardo and Michelangelo. His travels are contemporary with the appearance in Florence of a figure whom Dr Steiner compares to John the Baptist. We will consider how Rafael reacted to this. We will be looking at slides of his work including ‘The Betrothal’, ‘The Entombment’  and several of Raphael's early Madonnas.

February 4th
Raphael’s ‘School of Athens’ and ‘The Disputa’.
Of Rudolf Steiner's thirteen Art History lectures, only one is directed to two paintings by the same artist.  This indicates the centrality of Raphael in the art historical process that Rudolf Steiner characterizes in these lectures. Dr. Steiner indicated a new way of looking at art history and regarded it as one important pathway to developing Inspiration. Considering Raphael's achievements these two paintings are central to assessing not only his significance  but the spiritual impulses that manifest in the development of Art. We will consider what Rudolf Steiner has to say about them  and look at slides of them.

March 4th
School of Pisarro.
The ‘father’ of Impressionism was not only one of the greatest painters of the late nineteenth century but was the teacher and inspirer of his younger Impressionist colleagues, such as Monet, Renoir and Sisley. He also played a significant role in the development of other artists such as Cezanne, Seurat and Van Gogh. We will be looking at the extraordinary life of this significant figure, and at slides of his work and also slides of the work of those he nurtured.

April 1st
John, the Disciple whom the Lord loved.

There are many mysteries relating to the figure of John the Evangelist and who he was. Steiner indicates that he was the same as Lazarus whom Christ raised from the dead. We will be looking at slides of this and other paintings of John as well as considering his relationship to Raphael. The raising of Lazarus has been the subject of many paintings from the earliest Christian paintings to the present day..  He is  also often depicted with the disciples, as in Leonardo’s ‘Last Supper’ or on the island of Patmos writing the Book of Revelation.

Monthly, Friday Conversation Group
Introduced by David Lowe
Each of these sessions will begin with a short contribution or contributions on the theme followed by conversation and questions
Suggested contributions: £3 or £2 concessions

After initial contributions, these evenings will be open for other contributions and more general conversation. All are welcome. Please, limit any contribution you wish to bring to 10 to 15 minutes.

December 15th
Buddha and the Nativity
Lead- in contribution by David Lowe.
Dr Steiner extensively researched the spiritual events leading to the events we celebrate at Christmas and how widespread preparation was made centuries beforehand. What was the Buddha's involvement in the Nativity? He also has much to say about the further development of the connection between the Buddha and later significant spiritual events.

January 5th (as part of the Holy Nights celebrations .7.00 to 9.00).
Raphael’s Karmic Relationships.
Debbie Elliott will speak about Elijah; Simon Pelling will speak about John the Baptist; and Margitta Ogundare will speak about Novalis.
David Lowe will introduce the evening. Each contribution will last for 15 to 20 minutes so there should be time for further contributions and conversation.

January 21st
Robots & AI.
Lead-in contribution by Debbie Elliott
Are our technical developments going to create robots that help us or hinder us in our spiritual development? Will they work with us or develop themselves into a new species that will rise up to dominate us?

March 18th
Extraterrestrial Beings.
Lead-in contribution by Simon Pelling.
UFO observations are among the best evidenced of all paranormal phenomena, many with multiple independent witnesses, sometimes involving radar and air defence systems. However the phenomenon does not fit into any neat category, such as physical visits from outer space. Rather it suggests we need to broaden our worldview to try to comprehend what is going on. We will look at those characteristics of the UFO phenomenon for which there is good evidence and look at the different interpretations that have been given, and discuss what anthroposophy can say about it all from a broader context.

April 22nd
The Chakras
Lead-in contribution by Paul Webber
They are known in many esoteric teachings and connected with development and self knowledge. Steiner refers  to them in knowledge of Higher Worlds and many other places in his lectures. A brief guide to what they are, where they are and what they do.

Contact: freerlife@gmx.com

Weekly study group.
Introduced by David Lowe
All are welcome.
Suggested contributions: £3 or £2 concessions.
WEDNESDAYS. 6.30 to 8.30.
January 12th, 19th, 26th.
February 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd.
March 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
April 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th.

Reading Rudolf Steiner's lectures in Britain.
For some years we have followed the lectures Rudolf Steiner gave 100 years ago. This year brings us to 1922 when Rudolf Steiner made several visits  to Britain and gave several lectures.  We shall be following these throughout the year.
We shall Include for comparison two lectures on similar themes that Rudolf Steiner gave in London in 1913. The titles of the lectures  which will  form the basis of our reading and conversation are:
Occult Science and Occult Development. Here, Steiner talks about the Akashic record, about the Mystery of Golgotha, and about Christ in the 20th Century
Knowledge and Initiation.
Knowledge of the Christ through Anthroposophy.
The Threefold Sun and the Risen Christ
For the first two sessions we will follow up on the group’s Holy Nights contribution with a lecture focussing on the karmic connections of the painter, Raphael

Contact for further info/ bookings:
Rudolf Steiner House 0207723 4400 David’s Email: freerlife@gmx.com
Tel: 07926196446

About David

David promotes, as a value when viewing art, an empathetic relationship to it. He is uninterested in relaying material information relevant to the piece to his companion; rather, mutually sharing sensory impressions received by the viewers in the presence of the work.

Read More When I looked at art with him, I began to reject the impulse to think “I like this/don’t like this” and to simply experience it. He often suggests looking at a piece for 5+ minutes to “allow it to work on you.” There is a sort of energy that can be felt when viewing paintings in which the artist effectively uses form to express his “inner necessity” (Kandinsky). Form is the interplay of line, curve, and color (in the case of painting), and it can cause a physical reaction in the viewer. This reaction does not come from the viewer accumulating facts about the work, or the artist, or the art movement it belongs to; it can only be tapped into by experiencing the work objectively. David’s aim is to encourage the viewer towards a more objective, less material, and freer understanding of art.
~ by Jaimen Perez

I first met David at a talk on Raphael at Steiner House in London. I was eager to hear what he had to say about the artist from an esoteric standpoint as I could sense a hidden depth within the paintings. I was not disappointed, even though the projector broke after just a few slides I was greatly entertained and left the room inspired. He had given me a wealth of new thoughts and ideas which have stayed with me ever since. David had begun to illuminate qualities of Imaginative perception within art, revealing a doorway which leads us into the Etheric.   

Since then we've shared many conversations about esoteric matters. I usually bring him questions and leave the conversation with plenty of answers, but also more questions than when we began. Articulate the questions well and you may strike gold, David’s rigorous methods of research have accumulated a vast store of knowledge and understanding of a wide range of subjects.   

When I first got to know David I noticed a certain knack he has with people, I observed it on many occasions. When encountering a stranger who at first appears closed up within themselves, in just a few words he opens them, there is a shift and their inner nature pours out for all who care to look. This gift is in revealing a person’s true character and the key here is that he begins every encounter by giving his genuine love. It is quite possible that he is unaware of this marvelous ability and merely assumes that this is just how people are. See he is also most admirably humble and often pretends that he is less advanced than he is, he even has himself quite convinced of this.  

Fortunately David also has a brilliant sense of humour. The first time we visited a gallery together I was chuckling to myself for days thinking about the insight he gave me into the minds of the artists. Humour hiding in the paintings which the general public or the church for that matter would never notice. Only one who has this artistic sense of humour for himself would see it in another.  David has plenty, proof of his level of insight, though he may well deny it.  

After an encounter with David, be it visiting a gallery, attending a talk or group, a phone call or a cup of tea, one is left with something real inside, a gift of ideas which work on and develop as the days go by.  

~by Silas Neptune – Musician/Composer  

Photo by Jaimen Perez

Art Lectures

My research is directed towards understanding the history of art as something that reflects the spiritual impulses working at a particular time into the soul-life of an artist .

Read More

My research is directed towards understanding the history of art as something that reflects the spiritual impulses working at a particular time into the soul-life of an artist coming to expression in the way they experience the world and also in the type of consciousness they have. I also study the way these impulses live in the soul and spirit of artists and manifest in their art. I draw on the research that others have done as well as my own experience of looking at the paintings.

I'm interested in the biological rhythms in artist lives and how this can help us to understand their development. I find that the application of an anthroposophical methodology gives insight into the lives of artists and their art which is rarely found in more abstract intellectual study.

There is too much emphasis on the material and social background and too little which concerns itself with the soul and spiritual life of artists.

I also find an anthroposophical approach to looking at art helpful in seeing what is there rather than what some writer or other has told you to look for. Used well, an intimate and loving approach can give a deeper and more intimate connection with the painting. Used badly, without an awareness of the research that has gone into studying paintings by other art historians it can degenerate from imagination and lead to all kinds of fanciful and bizarre interpretations. Often the talks are more about how we look at a particular artist's work and less about the soul and spiritual content of the paintings.


PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA AND THE GOLDEN LEGEND

Much of the hidden wisdom was therefore expressed in the Christian legends and stories of the Middle Ages. One of the most significant of these was called ‘The Golden Legend.'

Read More The artist, PIero della Francesca who died in 1492 was forgotten for centuries. Over the course of the 20th century he became regarded as one of the most significant painters in the Italian Renaissance of the 15th century. His actual birthday is unknown but sometime around 1413. Many of his works are lost or destroyed but enough survive to indicate that Piero is a major painter who developed a refined use of perspective that affects the perception and consciousness of the viewer in mysterious ways. His work on perspective was to be taken up by Leonardo da Vinci and Luca Pacioli on the theoretical side and by Raphael among many others. Raphael used it, for example, to create the illusion of the flying horse and rider in the Heliodorus fresco which he and his workshop painted in the Vatican. Piero achieved one of the greatest of painterly illusions in his own painting of the Resurrection. Evidence of esoteric knowledge regarding Christianity is never far from the surface. It gives an insight into the devotional feeling that was cultivated not only in the confraternity that many of Piero’s family were involved in but also the esoteric understanding that was hidden in them. People were not generally regarded as mature enough in their spiritual development to be worthy of receiving the deeper secrets of Christianity. Much of the hidden wisdom was therefore expressed in the Christian legends and stories of the Middle Ages. One of the most significant of these was called ‘The Golden Legend’. Piero chose this theme for a cycle of frescoes he painted in a chapel of the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo, a short distance from Florence

More information about Piero’s life and work and also some information about the frescoes is available by contacting my email freerlife@gmx.com

Travel

The website's name comes from Goethe’s account of his Italian Journey: Travel is a way we can experience that different parts of the world have different etheric forces.

Read More This website's name comes from Goethe’s account of his Italian Journey:
Implicit in this phrase is the thought
that beyond the reach of our physical senses
a world of being that is not physically embodied
although certain of the beings there
such as the elemental beings
are able to work down into the physical.
The Higher Beings
are unable to do this:
we have to reach up to them.
Even the Beings we refer to as Angels
only reach down as far as the etheric world.

In earlier times when people experienced
the etheric world more regularly,
it was more usual for them,
as the Egyptians and even the Greeks did,
to experience beings at the level of Angels
Nowadays it is necessary to experience
the etheric world through our own efforts.
The many challenges of our times
require us to consider
the etheric world adjacent to our own.
Travel is a way we can experience
that different parts of the world
have different etheric forces.

Photo by Jaimen Perez

Glencoe

An older, wiser time saw
in what we call the weather
and in nature herself
something with being.

Each place has beings special to it.
each cloud embodies something
that lives in a particular way
forming and dissolving and forming again.

Glencoe Is a place full of dark memories and an unusually powerful elemental life
in the west of Scotland, south of Inverness.

Tuition & Seminars

I currently work with a variety of groups and individuals.

Read More Most of these meetings are private or closed to newcomers and are generally informal. Most Wednesdays at Rudolf Steiner House in London there is a reading and conversation group open to all. We meet from 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. It is formed of people who already have familiarity with Anthroposophy. There is a smaller group that meets monthly and is made up of people who are relatively new to anthroposophy but not necessarily new to esoteric study. Most of them are artists, musicians, writers etc. The content of the study Is to do with the various stages of initiation, leading from sense perception, through Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition and how they are related to creative activity. I am currently forming a group of people who are interested In the methodology of anthroposophical research with a view to doing their own research. There is already a group of individuals scattered through several countries interested in the biographical crisis point which everyone goes through at the age of 26 to 27 to which particular emphasis is given by Rudolf Steiner. The developing structure for this research can be obtained from freerlife@gmx.com

Research Projects

The changes that the research brings about in the person doing the research is an important and necessary aspect of it. You need to develop different faculties.

Read More
  • • Goethe’s Italian Journey
  • • Imagination and how we develop it.
  • • Biographical study: the crisis at age 26/27, lasting to 35.
  • • The etheric body gets younger as the physical body gets older.
  • • The development of empathy through two or more people working together. The possibility through that development of bringing change not only to themselves but also to the world.
  • • The development of Art and consciousness.
  • • The mirroring of ancient Egyptian culture and our own culture.
  • • Observation of Nature in relation to Imagination
  • • Historical Processes in relation to Inspiration.

Further info on these would be available only on request. Contact freerlife@gmx.com

My main area of research is the spiritual impulses active in cultural history. At the moment the focus of my research is Raphael.

Another current area of research is the study of the crisis that occurs in everybody's life when they are 26 or 27.

I have a more general research interest in the rhythms of human biography.

This relates also to my interest in the spiritual impulses active in cultural history as part of that is understanding the rhythms in the processes of the history of culture. There are obvious interconnections. The history of culture is in part the study of individual artists. Interestingly, biographical rhythms show themselves more clearly in the lives of creative people. There are also some rhythms, noticeably the 33 year rhythm, which is prominent in historical development and also often very significant in the lives of individuals.

Sometimes following the methodology and content of Anthroposophical research you can arrive at similar results to those arrived at by conventional art historical researchers. A good example is that of the late Edgar Wind’s research into the meaning of Michaelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. There is an interesting relationship between the results of his research and the results of Rudolf Steiner's research regarding the same frescoes.

I have a more general interest in understanding the methodology of anthroposophical research and how that may be taught to others. The doing of the research makes you aware of the methodology and how far it differs from the methodology of conventional academic intellectual research. Goethe's Italian journey was in part research into the metamorphosis of plants. His account of his Italian journey is the record of his research. The account was written so that readers would be able to perceive the full scope of his research into the metamorphosis of plants. An aspect of this is that although he is quite objective about his research, the objectivity extends to a consciousness of the changes his research work brought about in himself. The lack of this kind of consciousness in conventional academic research, especially in scientific research, is one of the big differences between that and anthroposophical research.

In the latter the changes that the research brings about in the person doing the research is an important and necessary aspect of it. You need to develop different faculties than what comes from an abstract intellectual approach. In the section on tuition, seminars, and group work I mention that part of my teaching is concerned with how one develops in oneself the way of doing anthroposophical research.

Publications

Goethe and Palladio, by David Lowe and Simon Sharp
Goethe's study of the relationship between art and nature, leading through architecture to the discovery of the metamorphosis of plants. This is a study of the first part of Goethe’s Italian journey, covering his journey from the Brenner Pass to Venice which I followed with the co-author and artist, Simon Sharp..

Published by Lindisfarne Books: www.lindisfarne.org
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