Günther Oberhollenzer (a German Art historian) writes: The opposites in the title of the painting Steigend, steigend, sinke nieder (Rising, rising, descend ) remind one of Icarus, of the hubris of man who wants to fly higher and higher but will ultimately fail and plummet, unable to remain master over his (technical) achievements and the related power. Kiefer used the same title in 2008 for a work relating to the seven heavenly palaces of the Merkabah mystics (Sefer Hechaloth MERKABA Die sieben Himmelspaläste Steigend steigend sinke nieder). An early Christian movement, Merkabah mysticism is based on visions of the Merkabah (chariot). When it started its journey through the seven heavenly palaces to the highest throne, it was called a descent, although it was a journey to the heavens. The stairs are both ascending and descending.
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