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Chair for Modern Art HistoryParis: Capital of German Romanticism

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Paris: Capital of German Romanticism

Book Project funded by the VW-Stiftung's "Opus Magnum" Scholarship

Direction: Bénédicte Savoy


About the Project

In 1800, 30-year-old Friedrich Schlegel had the opportunity to learn Sanskrit for the first time in the manuscripts department of the Parisian National Library. Only a few years later in 1808 he published his epic monograph about the language and knowledge of India (1808). Around the same time, in 1805 and 1815, the young Jacob Grimm also explored the Parisian National Library. He ended up finding manuscripts from the middle ages and documenting philological comparisons which would ensure his position as the linguist and “father” of the German language. Furthermore, in the early 19th Century dozens of artists flooded into Paris, hoping to study in the Musée Napoléon (Louvre) and in the private ateliers of the great painters of the time such as Jacques-Louis David. There, they discovered the art of Raphael and Van Eyck and read the Nibelungs aloud to each other at night. During their Paris years, museum employees like Johann David Passavant and Gustav Friedrich Waagen encountered works of art that proved decisive for their later treatment of art history. Aa a final example, the literary works that Carl Maria von Weber's librettist Helmina von Chezy offered to him in the 1820s were some that she had discovered, studied, and translated in the library between 1805 and 1807 (such as, for example, Euryanthe).

These are just a few examples that will be included in this book. The project's aim is to provide an interdisciplinary, decentralized, object-oriented history of German Romanticism.

Preliminary Studies

The following projects are included within the framework of "Paris: Capital of German Romanticism":

ArtTransForm on the training of German painters in Paris in the 19th century

Chézy on Helmina von Chézy's work "Life and Art in Paris since Napoleon I" (1805/7)

Passavant's Collected Letters on the letters written by J.D. Passavant from Paris and Rome

Napoleon and Europe A 2010/2011 exhibition in the Bundeskunsthalle

Les frères Humboldt. L'Europe de l'esprit. A 2014 exhibition in the Observatoire de Paris





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