German Romanticism

German Romanticism

"For the general context, see Romanticism".

In the philosophy, art, and culture of German-speaking countries, German Romanticism was the dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. German Romanticism developed relatively late compared to its English counterpart, coinciding in its early years with the movement known as German Classicism or Weimar Classicism, which it opposed. In contrast to the seriousness of English Romanticism, the German variety is notable for valuing humor and wit as well as beauty.

The early German romantics tried to create a new synthesis of art, philosophy, and science, looking to the Middle Ages as a simpler, more integrated period. As time went on, however, they became increasingly aware of the tenuousness of the unity they were seeking. Later German Romanticism emphasized the tension between the everyday world and the seemingly irrational and supernatural projections of creative genius. Heinrich Heine in particular criticized the tendency of the early romantics to look to the medieval past for a model of unity in art and society.

Key figures of German romanticism are listed below.

Literary and philosophical figures

* Heinrich Heine
* G.W.F. Hegel
* E.T.A. Hoffmann
* Friedrich Hölderlin
* Heinrich von Kleist
* Adam Müller
* Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg)
* Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
* Friedrich Schlegel
* August Wilhelm Schlegel
* Friedrich Schleiermacher
* Ludwig Tieck
* Ludwig Uhland
* Joseph von Eichendorff
* Johann Gottlieb Fichte
* Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder
* Ernst Moritz Arndt
* Friedrich Ludwig Jahn


* Carl Maria von Weber. Perhaps the very first of Romantic musicians, if we exclude Beethoven, in the sense that Weber was the first major composer to emerge wholly as a product of the Romantic school, as contrasted with Beethoven, who had started off as a Classicist (see below). The emotional intensity and supernatural, folklore-based themes in his operas presented a radical break from the Neoclassical traditions of that time.
* Franz Schubert. Universally acknowledgedweasel-inline|date=June 2008 as the greatest composer of German Lieder; called 'the most poetic musician ever' by Franz Liszt.Citequote|date=June 2008
* Robert Schumann. Primarily a miniaturist of piano music,Fact|date=June 2008 his works recall the nostalgia of lost childhood innocence, first love, and the magnificence of the German countryside. As an influential critic, he played a major role in discovering new talents, among them Chopin and Brahms. He stands at the forefront of German Romantics.Fact|date=June 2008
* Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. A composer of the Early Romantic period, together with such figures as Schumann, Chopin and Liszt. One of the persons responsible for reviving interest in the almost-forgotten music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
* Franz Liszt. Liszt was by nationality a Hungarian, but nevertheless he spent many years in Germany, and his first language was German. His flamboyant style, seen in such pieces as his 'Hungarian Rhapsodies', the first piano concerto, the 'la Campanella' Etude, and the 'Fantasia on Hungarian Themes', makes him the 'Byron' of Romantic music.Fact|date=June 2008 Credited as the inventor of the tone poem. In his old age, Liszt adopted a more dissonant, ominous flavour, characteristic works being 'la Lugubre Gondola' and 'Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth'--predating Impressionism and 20th-century atonality.
* Johannes Brahms. His works are cast in the formal moulds of Classicism; he had a profound reverence for Beethoven. Brahms was also attracted to the exoticism of Hungarian folk music, and used it in such pieces as his famous 'Hungarian Dances', the final movement of his Violin Concerto, and the 'Rondo alla zingarese' from his Piano Quartet No. 1, op. 25, in G minor.
* Richard Wagner. The greatest composer of German opera; was an exponent of Leitmotif. One of the main figures in the so-called War of the Romantics.
* Ludwig van Beethoven. In his earlier works, Beethoven was a Classicist in the traditions of Mozart and Haydn (his tutor), but his Middle Period, beginning with his third symphony (the 'Eroica'), bridges the worlds of Classical and Romantic music. Because Beethoven wrote some of his greatest music after he became totally deaf, he embodies the Romantic ideal of the tragic artist who defies all odds to conquer his own fate. His later works portray the triumph of the human spirit, most notably his 'Choral' Symphony No. 9; the stirring 'Ode to Joy' from this symphony has been adopted as the anthem of the European Union.

Visual Artists

* Caspar David Friedrich
* Gerhard von Kügelgen
* Nazarene movement
* Adrian Ludwig Richter
* Philipp Otto Runge
* Carl Spitzweg
* Eberhard Wächter

ee also

*List of German-language philosophers
*German culture
*List of Austrian intellectual traditions
*War of the Romantics

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