By Charles W. Haxthausen, Suhr Heidrum
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Additional resources for Berlin: Culture and Metropolis (Cultural Studies)
These buildings and monuments compose a representative historical view of the city seen in relation to the river that flows through its center. In the change from the drawing to the drypoint Hubbuch eliminates both the landscape and the monumental-representative aspect of the scene to concentrate on a few elements, to concentrate meaning in a way that goes beyond Baluschek and Skarbina. To gain some impression of the extreme point of view assumed by Hubbuch in this scenic reduction, one need only compare the same site represented panoramically by the view painter Julius Jacob in 1885 (figure 12).
He looks away from the locks, his source of work, and toward an incident on the shore. There a helpless man with the dark recessed eyes of the artist is being supported and cared for. Before him is a scavenger goat, behind him, an aristocract in a carriage; further in the background one sees a truck loaded with workers. If one resituates this small human drama and the larger signifiers in the economic crisis of Germany in 1922, all the elements fall into logical place. The boatsman's unemployment, the drunk or attempted suicide on the shore, the capitalist in a carriage and his bank, contrasted with the workers in the truck and the moored work vessel, all are understood with topical reference to the Berlin of the early Weimar period.
As the working- and lower-class inhabitant of cities, this more generic type succeeded the collections of individual types —of artisans and street vendors45 — who had represented the big city populace in pictorial and literary compendiums during the first half of the nineteenth century. According to political persuasion, this contemporary type was rendered to embody the debilitating circumstance of people in the modern and industrial city (social Darwinism) or, conversely, the prospective vanguard of social progress (socialism and Marxism).