Landscape, heroes
and folktales
German Romantic prints and drawings

23 September 2011 – 9 April 2012

Supported by the
Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Recommend this exhibition

Discover over 100 fabulous 18th–19th-century prints and drawings from this extraordinarily creative period of German art history.

German Romanticism was a philosophical
and artistic movement in the late 18th and
19th centuries which was highly influential across the whole of Europe. Key figures included composers Beethoven, Schubert
and Brahms, philosophers Hegel and Schlegel, and literary giants Goethe and Schiller. Artists
in 19th-century Germany were seeking a cohesive national identity that had not existed before – through works often inspired by the German landscape, mythology and Germany’s ancient past.

The prints and drawings on display capture beautiful, poetic scenes, exploring landscapes and wildlife to heroes and folktales. Romantic artists took inspiration from earlier artists, including Albrecht Dürer and Raphael. The works show high standards of draughtsmanship, depict an amazing variety of subject matter and use a range of sophisticated print techniques, including the recently invented technique of lithography. Artists featured in the exhibition include Caspar David Friedrich, Philipp Otto Runge, Wilhelm Tischbein, Carl Wilhelm Kolbe, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Friedrich Overbeck, Peter Cornelius, Karl-Friedrich Schinkel and Johann Christian Reinhart.

Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759–1835), I too was in Arcadia (detail). Etching, 1801. From a private collection.