German Art From 1780 to 1880
Germany’s romantic age marks the beginning of a cultural self-definition which is defined by contradictions. On the one side, it was inspired by Greek and Roman art; on the other side artists looked at the medieval past, and Gothic art was considered part of German identity. A similar contradiction affected the political idealists, who had fought against Napoleon, but suffered a severe disappointment with the political reality which did not permit unity and democracy on German soil. Sehnsucht and irony therefore became the trademarks of early romanticism only to be superseded at the end of the century by the pathos and chauvinism of the huge monuments the 2nd Reich erected to celebrate itself. Based on this historical background and on texts written by artists in the 19th century, the course will analyze paintings, sculptures and architecture of the time to determine what makes them typically German and how these concepts continued to influence art in the 20th century.
Required texts: A prepared reader will be made available.