Exhibition | Romantic Germany

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 19, 2019

Now on view at the Petit Palais:

Romantic Germany: Drawings from the Museums of Weimar
Petit Palais, Paris, 22 May — 1 September 2019

Curated by Hermann Mildenberger, Gaëlle Rio, and Christophe Leribault

For the first time in France the Petit Palais is presenting a selection of 140 drawings from the lavish collections of Weimar’s museums. These remarkable images—initially chosen by Goethe (1749–1832) for the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and his own collection—offer a spectacular overview of the golden age of German drawing (ca. 1780–1850).

In the late 18th century the city of Weimar, seat of the Dukes of Saxe-Weimar, was Germany’s intellectual hub. A key figure at this enlightened court, Goethe accumulated numerous posts of cultural responsibility, in addition to writing most of his works there. Himself a knowledgeable collector and draftsman, he built up for the Grand Duke a handsome collection representing every facet of German drawing.

At this time, literature, the visual arts, and music were undergoing profound upheavals in terms of their rules and practice. While the Romantic movement never had a leader as such, its artists unanimously stood for expression of the passions and subjectivity of vision; and in many cases this period saw a blossoming of drawing that made it the most innovative of the creative disciplines of the time.

Divided into seven sections, the exhibition combines the chronological and the aesthetic. As well as such emblematic figures as Caspar Friedrich, Philipp Runge, and Johann Füssli, visitors will discover some 35 artists who played vital parts in the history of drawing, among them Tischbein, Carstens, Fohr, Horny, von Schadow, Schinkel, von Schwind, Richter, and the Nazarenes Overbeck and Schnorr von Carolsfeld, driven by Christian spirituality and national feeling. Portraits and genre scenes, castles in ruins, compositions of biblical and medieval inspiration—but above all landscapes mingling idealism and naturalism in every imaginable media—offer viewers a sublime frisson in their illustration of the private, inner and sometimes flamboyant lives of the Romantic artists.

Hermann Mildenberger, professor and curator at Klassik Stiftung Weimar
Gaëlle Rio, director, Musée de la Vie romantique
Christophe Leribault, director, Petit Palais

L’Allemagne romantique: Les dessins du musée de Weimar (Paris: Éditions Paris Musées, 2019), 232 pages, ISBN: 978-2759604258, 40€.

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