This comment was written by HAVC 135B on 2 Sep 2016.

HAVC 135B : German Art 1905-1945

What role did art and culture play in forming Germany’s national identity in the 19th century?

Germany had never truly been unified until 1870 and Germans were searching desperately for a cultural identity to call their own. They wanted to separate themselves from the rest of Europe especially the French who had ruled them for over a half a century. German philosophers looked to their landscape while the people looked to their past. The visual philosophy of Romanticism was taken up to be distinctly German, and it began to reflect in their paintings. Paintings captured the natural environment by painting broad grandiose panoramas with solitary men facing away from the audience. This philosophy of being able to experience God in nature worked really well with the protestant populations of Germany. Because of their lack of a centralized German culture scholars searched for something that could be authentically German. For example, the old Grimm Fairy Tales became a national text akin to great epics, and modernization encouraged more and more people to become literate.
- Summer 2016

Contents of this reply: