The Spell of Italy: Vacation, Magic, and the Attraction of by Richard Block

By Richard Block

Wearied through his existence as an administrator on the Duke's courtroom in Weimar, in 1786 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe departed unannounced in the course of the evening for what have been the vacation spot of his mind's eye on the grounds that youth: Italy. His prolonged remain there dramatically affected his perspectives of paintings, structure, prose, poetry, and technological know-how. while he lower back to Germany and Weimar, Goethe's reports translated into his lifestyles and paintings in ways in which stimulated numerous others as they constructed Germany's personal model of excessive culture.

The Spell of Italy: holiday, Magic, and the charm of Goethe tracks the bizarre house Italy occupies within the cultural awareness of German writers by way of reconsidering the Italian trips of Goethe and Winckelmann and the legacy of these trips within the works of Heine, Nietzsche, Freud, Mann, Carossa, and Bachmann. writer Richard Block contests past assumptions approximately Italy as a spot to come across classical tradition and artistic rebirth. His learn examines the measure to which Germany's literary and cultural traditions appropriated a phantasmic Italy, displaying how Winckelmann's paintings background and Goethe's Italian trip predisposed later writers to look for a cultured perfect in Italy that didn't exist, and the way their look for this absent perfect finally ended in disillusionment and deception. development on past paintings on Goethe, literary conception, and cultural background, The Spell of Italy deals compelling new methods of realizing Germany's fascination with Italy from the eighteenth century to its afflicted political background of the 20 th century.

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16 Of the other paintings in the collection, Winckelmann had only seen drawings by Giovanni Casanova, and the difficulties he encountered in seeing the Jupiter and Ganymede may have served to arouse his curiosity (Pelzel 303–4). No doubt, the elaborate story of how the paintings were discovered, stealthily broken from a wall, restored, and sent off to England contributed to the appearance of their authenticity (Pelzel 304). 17 The actual image was always removed from view. But his insistence on the legitimacy of the Jupiter and Ganymede is related as well to an erotic attachment to the nude Ganymede.

The work dismisses any need to view the original; the copies on display in Dresden suffice. That these works could only be viewed in dim light renders them shadowy and thus all the more desirable. 20 Obedience to what Goethe called, in “Über Laocöon,” the physical laws of art—order, clarity, symmetry, positioning, and so forth (HA 12:58–59)—calls forth an idea of beauty’s perfect harmony, of which humanity or modern man, as Winckelmann insisted, is incapable of being a vessel. Beauty is meted out to each creature appropriate to that creature’s nature.

Butler summarized the affect of Winckelmann on German culture: That obscure German abbé, prowling around the streets of Rome, can hardly have foreseen the commotion he was to cause, let alone the works he was to inspire. Their fame is legion . . : Laocoon, Iphigenie, Helena, The Gods of Greece, 17 CHAPTER 1 Hölderlin’s poems, Empedocles, The Gods in Exile, “The Gold of Troy,” The Birth of Tragedy, Olympian Springtime, The Seventh Ring; directly or indirectly, we owe all these to Winckelmann, and we cannot imagine German literature or life without them.

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