Paintings on the Move: Heinrich Heine and the Visual Arts

Paintings on the Move: Heinrich Heine and the Visual Arts

Paintings on the Move: Heinrich Heine and the Visual Arts

Paintings on the Move: Heinrich Heine and the Visual Arts

Excerpt

"When you or Mrs. von Cotta read this, don't be deterred by the apparent insignificance of the first pages," was the advice given by the first reader of Heinrich Heine's Französische Maler (French Painters), Gustav Kolb, when he recommended the manuscript to the powerful publisher Cotta. "As you read on, you will be convinced that it is one of the best, most beautiful, and most thoroughly conceived pieces that Heine ever wrote." Cotta seemed to agree, for in December 1831, after Heine's articles on paintings had appeared in his Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände, he responded to Heine in a more general, but no less appreciative, vein: "Your pen knows how to strike a spark from flint stones and transform it into a flame" (DHAI2/2, p.525).

Kolb's and Cotta's enthusiastic reactions were not typical. Many critics, particularly in Germany, remained divided over Heine's literary achievement. Although they stressed the brilliance of Heine's prose, his "charming talent," they found fault with his irreverent asides, with his flippant political allusions, with his shifts and jumps, with the unsystematic nature of his particular brand of art criticism. Imbued with the aesthetic concepts of Weimar Classicism, with Goethe's idea of the "free," that is, "harmonious," "unified," "objective" work of art, they could not accept texts that were as . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.