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Romantik


Romanticism: In the fine arts Vienna and its environs were the centre of the Austrian Romantic movement. It was in particular painting in which the spirit of Romanticism found its most lively expression in Austria, while architecture and to an even greater extent sculpture remained committed to the ideals of Classicism. While the latter sought to emulate Antique art, the Romanticists increasingly turned to the Middle Ages for their models.

In architecture romanticising tendences can be detected in the construction of castles and palaces in Historicist style and the love of artificial ruins. Castle construction was in particular promoted by the "Wildenstein Knights of the Blue Earth" (1790-1823), who had their headquarters at Seebenstein. The principal work that emerged from this early 19th century fascination with fortresses and castles was Franzensburg Castle in the Park of Laxenburg (1797-1836, by M. Riedl and F. Jäger). The spirit of Romanticism is also present in some later castles in English Gothic style, such as (1840-1877), Hernstein (1856-1880) and Wolfsberg in Carinthia (1846-1853). Other, older buildings were "Gothicised", such as Liechtenstein Castle (from 1808) and Greifenstein (1818).

Most of these building projects went hand in hand with a refurbishment of parks and gardens modelled on natural, romantic "English" landscape gardens which were furnished with pavilions, temples and ruins. Construction of artificial ruins actually found a significant older (18th century) model in the Roman ruin in the Schönbrunn Gardens, which had been erected by J. F. Hetzendorf von Hohenberg in 1778. In the early years of the 19th century, the construction of ruins was especially promoted by Prince Liechtenstein on his land in the vicinity of Mödling (Schwarzer Turm, 1810, Amphitheater, 1810, Pfefferbüchsel, 1818) and Seebenstein (Türkensturz, 1826).

The influence of the Nazarenes is clearly seen in the churches built by C. Roesner (such as the Erlöserkirche [Church of the Redeemer] in the 3rd district of Vienna, 1834-1836, the Johann-Nepomuk church in the 2nd district, 1841-1846, and Meidling parish church in the 12th district, 1842-1845) as well as the Altlerchenfelder Kirche church erected to plans by J. G. Müller in the 7th district of Vienna (1848-1861). Müller's architecture and the frescoes by J. von Führich, L. Kupelwieser and others - the most important Nazarene paintings in Austria- constitute one of the rare "total works of art" (gesamtkunstwerk) of Romanticism and at the same time the transition to the next phase, Historicism.

Even though Austrian painting, and in particular landscape painting, had always been imbued with an element of Romanticism, no Romantic school in its own right established itself in Austria. One of the leading pioneers of Romanticism in painting was J. A. Koch from Tirol. As the champion of heroic-poetic landscape painting he exercised considerable influence on the students at the Vienna Academy in the early 19th century.

In Austria the predominant influences on the Romantic movement were derived from literature and music, and by a revived interest in religion. At the same time, Romantic artists turned away from the formal ideals of Classicism and concentrated on models found in nature. Other important models were German 16th century painting and the works of the High Renaissance in Italy.

The new movement was largely confined in Austria to the members of the Lukasbund and the Nazarenes and their intimate friends; initially it was particularly popular with the German students at the Vienna Academy (F. Overbeck, F. Pforr, J. and P. Veit, J. and L. F. Schnorr von Carolsfeld, J. Wintergerst, brothers Ferdinand von Olivier and Friedrich von Olivier, J. A. Heinrich, F. P., G. and H. Reinhold, J. A. Klein, J. C. Erhard and others).

The most important Austrians in this circle were J. Sutter, J. E. Scheffer von Leonhardshoff, W. A. Rieder, E. von Steinle, J. v. Führich, L. Kupelwieser and J. S. v. Hempel.

Most of these artists followed the leading members of the Lukasbund to Rome in order to study the principal works of the Italian High Renaissance. A few of them remained in Rome, while most of them soon returned to their home country.

In Austria, the Nazarenes exercised great influence on religious art, on painters of historical events and portrait painting. The painters who drew their inspiration from history and religion (L. F. Schnorr von Carolsfeld, J. von Führich, J. P. Krafft and others) were also attracted by motifs from the world of legends and fairy tales. The chief representative of this latter line was M. von Schwind, who achieved great success in Germany from 1828 onward.

In Austrian landscape painting J. A. Koch continued to constitute a major influence. Open-air painting became more and more popular. Study and hiking tours brought painters into contact with the romantic beauty of little-known regions. This was the time when the Salzkammergut lake district and the area around the Schneeberg mountain in Lower Austria was "discovered" by painters. Again it was artists from Germany (the Olivier brothers, J. A. Klein, J. C. Erhard, L. F. Schnorr von Carolsfeld, to mention only a few) who greatly contributed to this development.

The landscapes of the Biedermeier artists are also, at least partly, imbued with the spirit of Romanticism. Examples are F. G. Waldmüller, F. Steinfeld, T. Ender and A. Stifter.

Romanticism, which never was a clearly defined movement in Austria, soon gave way to the historicising imitative style of the Gründerzeit of the 2nd half of the 19th century.

Romanticism in Austrian literature was especially promoted by the brothers A. W. Schlegel and F. Schlegel, whose lectures in Vienna laid the theoretical foundations for Romantic literature. A. W. Schlegel's lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature ("Über dramatische Kunst und Literatur") in 1808 and those of F. Schlegel on the History of Old and New Literature ("Geschichte der alten und neuen Literatur") in 1812 defined literature as the essence of the intellectual and spiritual character of a nation, an idea which had a tremendous impact on the international literary scene. In 1812/13 he published the patriotic periodical "Deutsches Museum" in Vienna. Vienna became the centre of German Romanticism (Wiener Romantik) in the period 1811-1815, when in the course of the fight against Napoleon the Habsburg Monarchy became the stronghold of patriotic hopes and also attracted German authors such as A. Müller (1811-1815), C. Brentano (1813/14), Z. Werner (1814-1823), J. Grimm (1814/15) and J. v. Eichendorff (1810-1813), who was a frequent guest in the house of F. and Dorothea Schlegel, where he became familiar with Romanticist thought. The important writer and journalist K. A. Varnhagen von Ense, who also attended the Vienna Congress, is another representative of Romanticism worth mentioning. Under the influence of C. M. Hofbauer, who was a close friend of the above-mentioned authors, the religious aspect came to the fore after 1815. Catholic Romanticism found its literary expression in the periodicals "Friedensblätter" and "Ölzweige", its Protestant variant in the periodical "Janus", all published in Vienna.

In music, the predominance of Italian styles and the specifically Austrian developments in the Biedermeier epoch delayed the successful introduction of Romanticism, which did not come into its own in Austria until the second half of the century. In the field of sacred music, the Classicist tradition was followed by the Cecilian reform movement; with hardly any caesura. Romanticism experienced a unique flowering in the lieder written by composers from F. (iee) Schubert to J. Brahms and on to H. Wolf, G. Mahler and R. Strauss. In the field of symphonic music L. van Beethoven is considered the last musician of the Classicist tradition and the first of the Romantic school; his works were seminal for F. Schubert, A. Bruckner, J. Brahms and G. Mahler and their symphonic œuvre. A new direction in both harmony and form was pursued in Romanticism by the Neudeutsche ("New German") school, whose most important representative was R. Wagner; Austrian composers at least partly associated with this trend were A. Bruckner and F. Liszt; in their wake followed composers of late Romanticism, such as R. Strauss, F. Schmidt, E. Wellesz, J. Marx and others as well as the protagonists of atonality in the Vienna School such as Schönberg, A. Berg and A. Webern.


Literature: Romantik in Österreich, exhibition catalogue, Salzburg 1959; R. Zinner, Romantik in Österreich 1965; Romantik und Realismus in Österreich, exhibition catalogue, Laxenburg 1968; Von C. D. Friedrich bis A. Menzel - Aquarelle und Zeichnungen der Romantik, exhibition catalogue, Vienna 1990.


References to other albums:
Video Album: Anif, Salzburg, 1838-1848.,
Schloß Grafenegg, Niederösterreich. Romantik, 1840-1873.,

 
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