At the close of the eighteenth century, the Romantic movement influenced all areas of intellectual life in Germany. It formed a counter-movement to the rationalism of the Enlightenment and expressed displeasure with the times. Nation, religion, and history occupied people's attention. Modern historical and literary scholarship, Germanistics, and the study of legal history flourished, along with painting, poetry, and music.
One of the centers of the Romantic movement was Dresden. Attracted by the Baroque beauty of the city with its splendid collections, its charming surroundings, and the stimulating intellectual and cultural atmosphere, poets like the Schlegel brothers, Ludwig Tieck, Novalis (who founded the Romantic School of poetry in 1798), Heinrich von Kleist, composer Carl Maria von Weber, and the philosophers Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling and Arthur Schopenhauer made Dresden their home. Such important artists as Caspar David Friedrich and Adrian Ludwig Richter also made Dresden a center of the Romantic school of painting.
Pillnitz castle on the banks of the Elbe, ca. 1800, summer residence of the House of Wettin
Pillnitz, located on the right bank of the Elbe about six miles upstream from Dresden, was the summer residence of the Saxon rulers since the eighteenth century. With its Baroque buildings designed by Pöppelmann in 1720-1724, parks, and vineyards, Pillnitz remains a favorite excursion destination.
Artist unkown Schloss Pillnitz (Pillnitz Castle) Ca. 1800 Colored engraving (158)
The flower "pitcairnia," one of hundreds of plants grown at Pillnitz Castle
The Saxon State Library owns a unique compendium in nine folio volumes each with roughly 100 original pictures of the indigenous and foreign plants raised at Pillnitz Castle, the summer residence of the Saxon rulers. This extraordinary compilation was proposed and financed by Elector Frederick Augustus III (1750- 1827), an amateur botanist. He appointed as "botanical court painters" artists, already recognized as talented plant painters, who were graduates of his own Dresdener Kunstakademie (Dresden Academy of Art).
Various unnamed artists Plantae selectae vivis coloribus depictae (Selected Plants Shown in True-to-Life Colors) Centuria I, 1785-1795, plate 22 Watercolor on paper (159)
View of Dresden from the Elbe Bridge, in Johann Gottlieb Schwender's "family album," ca. 1800
Family albums (Stammbücher) provide remarkable insights into the lives of our ancestors. Popular since the sixteenth century primarily among the nobility, intellectuals, and students, these books later evolved into the "monuments to friendship" common among all social classes. It was common to ask friends and acquaintances to enter into these books thoughtful sayings, paintings, drawings, and also embroidery. Schwender's friends included architects and artists, explaining the fine drawings in his book, such as the view of Dresden.
Family Album of Johann Gottlieb Schwender 1795-1810, leaves 56b, 57a Watercolor and script (174)
Depiction of a Saxon metalworker, from a study on the life of mine workers
Since the Middle Ages, mining was the major basis for Saxony's wealth, the power of its rulers, and its cultural development. Silver was mined in the Erzgebirge and made into coins, usually. Later, tin, copper, iron, coal, cobalt, alum, and gold were mined as well. G.E. Rost documented various aspects of the miner's life, his dress, his workplace, and his tools, in a study with illustrations of considerable significance to students of cultural history.
G. E. Rost Trachten der Berg- und Hüttenleute im Königreich Sachsen (Traditional Dress of the Mining and Metalurgical Workers in the Kingdom of Saxony) Ca. 1830 Colored engravings (176a)Image of title page
Second part of Schumann's score for Senn's Farewell, with lyrics by Schiller
Robert and Clara Schumann lived in Dresden from 1844 to 1850. Since Robert could not find a permanent position, Clara provided for the family by giving concerts. Schumann nevertheless, found ample inspiration, as is manifested by the number of important compositions he created in Dresden. At the bottom of the leaf on display the composer notes, "Interrupted by the alarm bells on May 3, 1849," the day that citizens revolted. After the revolt's failure, Richard Wagner, the architect Gottfried Semper, and other notable figures deserted Dresden.
Robert Schumann Des Sennen Abschied (Senn's Farewell) Lyrics by Friedrich Schiller. No. 22 in "Lieder für die Jugend" (Songs for the Young) Dresden, undated Autograph score (178)
To a Viole, by Brahms, from a personal album kept by the Schumanns
In June 1845, the Schumanns started an album of memorabilia for their children, with locks of hair, drawings, dried flowers, poems, compositions, and letters from their friends and relatives. Later, Clara added autograph music by important composers, including a draft leaf by Beethoven and an autograph score, shown here, by Johannes Brahms, who as a youth was intimate with the Schumanns. According to Clara's notation in the upper right-hand corner of page 1, Brahms gave her the score on September 13, 1872. The Saxon State Library acquired this Dresden album from Schumann's grandsons in 1934.
Johannes Brahms An ein Veilchen. Text von Ludwig Hölty. Lied für eine Singstimme und Klavier, op. 49,2. (To a Violet. Lyrics by Ludwig Hölty. Song for Voice and Piano, opus. 49.2) Before 1872 Autograph fair copy (179)
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