August Natterer, 1868–1933


He was born in 1868 in Ravensburger Vorstadtschornreute as the son of an employee and was the youngest of nine children. Natterer was married and an electrical engineer, when he was sent to a psychiatric institution in 1907 for delirium and anxiety . To his will, he remained until his death in institutions. At this time a great productivity as a painter, in which he mostly tried to hold his hallucinations .

On April Fool’s Day 1907 he had a pivotal hallucination of the Last Judgment during which “10,000 images flashed by in half an hour.” He described it as follows:

I saw a white spot in the clouds absolutely close – all the clouds paused – then the white spot departed and stood all the time like a board in the sky. On the same board or the screen or stage now images as quick as a flash followed each other, about 10,000 in half an hour… God himself occurred, the witch, who created the world – in between worldly visions: images of war, continents, memorials, castles, beautiful castles, just the glory of the world – but all of this to see in supernal images. They were at least twenty meters big, clear to observe, almost without color like photographs… The images were epiphanies of the Last Judgment. Christ couldn’t fulfill the salvation because he was crucified early… God revealed them to me to accomplish the salvation.”


He was visited several times by the psychiatrist and art historian Hans Prinzhorn . Through his work The sculpture of the mind-sick“Neter” became known to a broader public. August Natterer died of heart failure in an institution near Rottweil in 1933 .


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