ultimate aim of all creative activity is a building! The decoration of
buildings was once the noblest function of fine arts, and fine arts were
indispensable to great architecture. Today they exist in complacent isolation,
and can only be rescued by the conscious co-operation and collaboration
of all craftsmen. Architects, painters, and sculptors must once again
come to know and comprehend the composite character of a building, both
as an entity and in terms of its various parts. Then their work will be
filled with that true architectonic spirit which, as "salon art",
it has lost.
The old art schools were unable to produce this unity; and how, indeed,
should they have done so, since art cannot be taught? Schools must return
to the workshop. The world of the pattern-designer and applied artist,
consisting only of drawing and painting must become once again a world
in which things are built. If the young person who rejoices in creative
activity now begins his career as in the older days by learning a craft,
then the unproductive "artist" will no longer be condemned to
inadequate artistry, for his skills will be preserved for the crafts in
which he can achieve great things.
Architects, painters, sculptors, we must all return to crafts! For there
is no such thing as "professional art". There is no essential
difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted
craftsman. By the grace of Heaven and in rare moments of inspiration which
transcend the will, art may unconsciously blossom from the labour of his
hand, but a base in handicrafts is essential to every artist. It is there
that the original source of creativity lies.
Let us therefore create a new guild of craftsmen without the class-distinctions
that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsmen and artists! Let us desire,
conceive, and create the new building of the future together. It will
combine architecture, sculpture, and painting in a single form, and will
one day rise towards the heavens from the hands of a million workers as
the crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith.
Weimar, April 1919
Picture of Manifest