Awakening of the Spirit Weimar

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A w a k e n i n g o f t h e S p i r i t :<br />

W e i m a r

“Be noble, helpful and good.”<br />

That was <strong>the</strong> motto <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Weimar</strong> Classicism in <strong>the</strong> late 18th and early<br />

19th centuries.<br />

"The true, <strong>the</strong> beautiful, <strong>the</strong> good” was <strong>the</strong> lodestar in <strong>the</strong> cultural<br />

firmament <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> great minds assembled here, whose effect still radiates<br />

into modern times. The striving after true humanity, <strong>the</strong> longing for <strong>the</strong><br />

realisation <strong>of</strong> highest ideals found expression in <strong>the</strong> works <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

writers:<br />

Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goe<strong>the</strong>,<br />

Johann Gottfried Herder,<br />

Christoph Martin Wieland and many o<strong>the</strong>rs.

In his essay “On Grace and Dignity” Schiller develops <strong>the</strong> concept <strong>of</strong><br />

“moral beauty.”<br />

And in Goe<strong>the</strong>’s Faust <strong>the</strong> choir <strong>of</strong> angels may proclaim:<br />

“Whoever aspires unvariedly is not beyond redemption.”<br />

Goe<strong>the</strong> describes this situation <strong>of</strong> <strong>Weimar</strong> as <strong>the</strong> spiritual and cultural heart <strong>of</strong><br />

Europe thus:<br />

Oh <strong>Weimar</strong>! A special lot fell upon you:<br />

Like Bethlehem in Judea, small and great!<br />

From <strong>the</strong> poem: “On Mieding’s Death”

Various, Die Gartenlaube (1856) b 317, marked as in <strong>the</strong> public domain, details on Wikimedia Commons.<br />

<strong>Weimar</strong> and its poets: Die Gartenlaube (1856)<br />

Caption:<br />

„Einsiedel and Seckendorf. Mrs von Kalb. Von Humboldt bro<strong>the</strong>rs. Schiller. Wieland. Von<br />

Lengefeld sisters. (Mrs von Schiller. Mrs von Wolzogen). Duke Karl August. Goe<strong>the</strong>. Musäus.<br />

Herder. Kotzebue. Kuebel. Duchess Amalie. Duchess Louise.“

The<br />

Ernestiner<br />

family <strong>of</strong><br />

noble<br />


Patron <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> arts<br />

Grand Duke Carl August<br />

<strong>of</strong> Saxony-<strong>Weimar</strong>-Eisenach

Sculpture <strong>of</strong> a lion in front <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Weimar</strong> City Palace

Donndorf Fountain in <strong>Weimar</strong>:<br />

Maternal love

“Russischer H<strong>of</strong>” hotel in <strong>Weimar</strong>

“There are moments in a man’s life<br />

When he is closer to <strong>the</strong> spirit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world than o<strong>the</strong>rwise.<br />

And has a question free to destiny.”<br />

Schiller, Wallenstein

Goe<strong>the</strong> and Schiller, two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most prominent poets in world history, shaped <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Weimar</strong> Classicism movement very strongly, from <strong>the</strong> beginning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

friendship in 1794 until Schiller’s death in 1805.<br />

<strong>Weimar</strong> also blossomed into a city <strong>of</strong> cultural heritage owing to Goe<strong>the</strong>’s<br />

friendship with Duke Carl August.

Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller

“It is <strong>the</strong><br />

spirit that<br />

builds<br />

its own<br />

body.”<br />

Schiller, Wallenstein

Johann Wolfgang von Goe<strong>the</strong> (1749-1832)

“You can also build beautiful things with stones that have been put<br />

in your path.”<br />

Quotation attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goe<strong>the</strong>.

Richard Wagner,<br />

<strong>the</strong> visionary and inspired composer,<br />

was connected with <strong>the</strong> city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Weimar</strong> as well.<br />

He had two <strong>of</strong> his operas,<br />

Tannhäuser and Lohengrin,<br />

performed at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Weimar</strong> Court Theatre.

Lohengrin, a romantic opera in three acts, is not only one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> most significant creations <strong>of</strong> our culture. This work has<br />

also made its impression on <strong>the</strong> city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Weimar</strong>.<br />

When a warrant was issued for Richard Wagner’s arrest<br />

because <strong>of</strong> his involvement in <strong>the</strong> May uprisings in Dresden<br />

in 1849, he had to flee from Germany. His friend and patron<br />

in <strong>Weimar</strong>, Franz Liszt, helped him to obtain false papers,<br />

which enabled him to find refuge in Switzerland.

On 28 August 1850 <strong>the</strong> premiere <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> romantic opera<br />

Lohengrin took place in Wagner’s absence at <strong>the</strong> Court<br />

Theatre in <strong>Weimar</strong> with Franz Liszt as conductor.<br />

And so for <strong>the</strong> first time <strong>the</strong> world heard <strong>the</strong> tender,<br />

unearthly beautiful sounds,which announce <strong>the</strong> arrival<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Swan Knight, armoured with truly supernatural<br />


Lohengrin: The Arrival <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Marvellous<br />

"How handsome and noble he is to behold, brought by such a miracle to our land!"<br />

Lohengrin Act 1, Scene 3

Photo credits:<br />

Page 4:<br />

Various, Die Gartenlaube (1856) b 317, marked as in <strong>the</strong> public<br />

domain, details on Wikimedia Commons.<br />

Page 10:<br />

Royalty-free photo: Canva.com.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> exception <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> pictures according to <strong>the</strong> picture credits and<br />

<strong>the</strong> quotations<br />

photos and text - copyright © 2021 Manfred Peter Luef: www.luef.co.at

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