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The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. The Gospel of St. Mindfulness and Reverence. Life Between Death and Rebirth. Education as a Social Problem. Biography: Freedom and Destiny. Rosicrucian Wisdom. Educating Children Today. Goethe As Thinker and Researcher: Works 14 of Reincarnation and Karma: Lecture 4 of 5. Anthroposophy and Christianity. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. In literary terms the Italian journey had not been a particularly successful time: Egmont had been completed, though with a shift of focus that blurred its political point, and some minor plays had been rewritten and ruined in the process.

Almost no lyric poems had been written. His misery at leaving Italy found an outlet in the play Torquato Tasso ; Eng. Torquato Tasso , the first tragedy in European literature with a poet as its hero, which was written largely in —89, though it had been begun in In richly plangent verse but at inordinately untheatrical length, Tasso descends into madness, uncomprehended by the court around him.

In old age Goethe acknowledged the closeness of this story of self-destruction to that of Werther. The erotic poems Goethe wrote in the first months of his love for Christiane, some of the earliest German imitations of Classical elegiac couplets, are among his most remarkable achievements. By his 40th birthday, in , Goethe had all but completed the collected edition of his works, including a revision of Werther , 16 plays, and a volume of poems. The only fragmentary drama it contained was Faust , which he saw no chance yet of finishing and which appeared in print for the first time in as Faust: Ein Fragment.

Together with some of the shorter poems on Christiane, they appeared in in the collection now known as the Venetianische Epigramme Venetian Epigrams. The years from to were lonely years for Goethe. But outside the house, apart from Herder, who was increasingly disenchanted with Weimar, his only close friend was the duke. He was lucky to survive the disastrous retreat from Valmy, in France, and to return home in December , but he was back on campaign in , observing the siege and virtual destruction of French-occupied Mainz. As a reward for his loyal support, Charles Augustus presented him with the freehold of the house on the Frauenplan in Weimar, which he remodelled into the form that has been preserved to the present day and which now also houses the Goethe National Museum.

But within the federal and feudal structure he thought established authority had an overriding right and duty to impose order, and he had little interest in procedures of representation or theories of the popular will. The creed was subtle, pragmatic , and benevolently paternalist, but it would be a travesty to see Goethe as a servile courtier or unprincipled egoist, though many have seen him in this light during his lifetime and afterward. After the remarkable effort of completing his collected edition, Goethe seems not to have known where to go next as a poet.

Perhaps by way of compensation for his lack of literary success, he turned to science. He also began to try to apply the same principle to anatomy in order to explain the skeletal development of vertebrates. In , however, a completely new scientific issue began to obsess him: the theory of colour. Convinced that Sir Isaac Newton was wrong to assume that white light could be broken into light of different colours, Goethe proposed a new approach of his own.


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Colour was to be seen as emerging from the mingling of light and darkness. Later, however, he saw that it is of the essence of colour to require cooperation between the physical behaviour of light and the human perceptual apparatus. In making this change to what one might call a more subjective science, Goethe was greatly helped by his study of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant , which was completely transforming the German intellectual landscape and was in particular being vigorously furthered in the University of Jena. The German Refugees , which were found tedious, and the Roman Elegies , which were found scandalous, and serialized a translation of the autobiography of Florentine Mannerist artist Benvenuto Cellini , which was acceptable but unexciting.

Schiller soon lost interest in the journal, which ceased publication after three years. Perhaps it had served its purpose simply by initiating the collaboration with Goethe, which was closer, longer, and on a higher level than any comparable friendship in world literature. Both profited incalculably from the relationship. The rewriting was therefore an immensely demanding task, but, as it came to an end, Goethe seemed to get a second wind. In the autumn he began an epic in the Homeric manner but set in contemporary Germany and dealing with the response of ordinary small-town people to the French Revolution and the associated wars: Herrmann und Dorothea , published in , one of the most successful and lucrative of his works.

A second hexameter epic, on the subject of Achilles , did not get beyond the first canto. With these Goethe returned to rhymed verse on a grand scale after some 10 years of writing in Classical metres and blank verse. At the same time, he took up again his great play in rhymed verse, Faust , and worked on it as the mood took him over the next five years. He decided probably in to divide it into two parts, of which the first at least could be completed soon, since it would cover all that he had so far written and required merely that certain gaps be filled.

Ever since the Italian journey, Goethe had thought of Weimar as a place where Classical culture might be brought to life once more. On a far grander scale, Goethe had been directing the rebuilding of the ducal palace, destroyed by fire in the exterior was unostentatious, but the interior decor was one of the earliest examples of the full Neoclassical style in Germany and had a lasting influence. But it was becoming obvious that the new world which had begun with the French Revolution in was going to make it ever more difficult to recover the spirit of antiquity.

Because Napoleon had forced Pope Pius VI to dispatch to Paris his best works of art, Goethe would not have found the Italy he had sought in anyway. Goethe never again set out to cross the Alps but accepted that everything that Italy had come to stand for in his mind—as the place of classic human perfection, in nature and in art—could be only an ideal to inspire him: he could not expect to experience it again as part of his normal life.

Goethe recognized that the modern world is not a Classical world, but he was also certain that the Classical ideal was infinitely superior to anything his contemporaries could offer. It lasted only two years, but in , to carry on its work, he inaugurated a series of art competitions in which subjects from Classical antiquity were judged according to a rigid canon opposed to the great changes then taking place in German art, especially in landscape and religious painting. On the other hand, he thought that the Classical world was the only true ideal and that the modern world was therefore profoundly misguided.

Something of this new understanding went into his recasting of Faust , and Faust, as the representative of modern man, took on some of the characteristics of a philosophical idealist. In it the French Revolution appears as the enemy of beauty and as inaugurating a new age in which the Classical world will survive in middle-class culture rather than in the courts that in the 18th century had been its home. Goethe had taken on the management of the Weimar court theatre in , had it rebuilt to his own design in , and thereafter put on first or early performances of seven major plays by Schiller in six years.

But by the high point of classical Weimar culture had passed. That summer saw the opening of the new ducal palace, but it also saw the first effects of the Napoleonic reorganization of Germany, which had been set in motion by the Final Recess Hauptschluss drawn up by a committee of princes, the Reichsdeputation, earlier that year. One result was that the University of Jena lost many of its most distinguished professors, including Schelling, to newer and wealthier institutions elsewhere. Jena never again rose to the dominant position it had enjoyed in the s.

In December Herder died, and in early Schiller and Goethe both fell seriously ill. Schiller died. Goethe responded to the death of Schiller by winding up the projects that had dominated his middle years. War, however, delayed publication of Faust until Christiane showed great courage in keeping control of the soldiers billeted with the family, and, probably in order to secure her position in these dangerous days, Goethe formally married her in the vestry of the court church five days after the battle.

In an obvious reaction against this decision finally to commit himself, Goethe shortly afterward fell briefly and passionately in love with an unremarkable young lady, Wilhelmine Herzlieb, extricating himself from the entanglement only with considerable pain. The period after the death of Schiller and the Battle of Jena was at first a sombre one.

Elective Affinities purports to tell a Romantic story of the conflict between social conventions and passion—or Fate, or animal magnetism , or chemical affinity all explanations are canvassed —in the lives of four comfortable and cultivated people. Through the refractive medium of an exceptionally misleading narration, however, we glimpse a much bleaker world in which moral choice is hard, in which there are no consolations, and in which Romantic paraphernalia—whether speculative science, artistic medievalism, or landscape gardening—is a delusive distraction.

The years to were, however, a disturbed period during which no visits to Carlsbad took place. He had to be pleased that the Treaty of Paris signed in provided for the works of art looted from Italy to be returned, but he was no friend of reaction, whether political or cultural. Alienation from the modern age is the undertone in all his work of this period, which branches out in three very different directions. He also approved of the plan to complete the unfinished cathedral in Cologne according to the rediscovered original drawings.

But his friends did not immediately appreciate that Goethe might recognize a past achievement but still not think it a suitable ideal to inspire the contemporary artist. He started to write verse of his own in the style of the translation. Poems of the East and West. Goethe was fleeing from the upheavals of his own time. But in he was cruelly reminded that he could not flee present reality entirely.

His wife died in June, probably of epilepsy. He abandoned a third visit to the Rhineland, and after only very few poems were added to the Divan , which was published in He had to make a new will and could see his 70th birthday approaching. The period until was one of tidying up at the end of life. He also took up a new scientific interest, meteorology. One more crisis remained. In Goethe resumed his summer visits to Bohemia.

Goethe stayed in Weimar and its immediate surroundings for the rest of his life.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It was a final stage of renunciation, an acknowledgement of the reality of passing time and strength and life. But it was also a time of extraordinary, indeed probably unparalleled literary achievement by a man of advanced age. In the course of this huge task, he rewrote and greatly extended The Wanderings of Wilhelm Meister ; 2nd ed. Less a novel than a collection of stories, extracts, and reflections in which fact and fiction , the prosaic and the intensely poetic, interact unpredictably, the book is held together by a framework narrative that violates conventional expectations as deliberately as much 20th-century experimental writing.

It also engages directly with such 19th-century themes as industrialization, utopian socialism , public education, and immigration to America. Yet he did not cut himself off from the world. He followed public events closely, such as the establishment of the first railways in Britain in and the July Revolution in France in which influenced the closing scenes of Faust. It also brought the first performance in Weimar of part one of Faust ; Goethe assisted with the rehearsals but did not attend the performance. As he grew older, deaths naturally accumulated round him: Frau von Stein in , Duke Charles Augustus in In , however, came the unexpected and terrible news that his son had died in Rome during his own Italian journey.

Goethe fell seriously ill immediately but recovered. Work on Faust accompanied Goethe throughout his adult life. Believing that all colors come from light, Turner paints his colors so as to produce optical fusions which create new colors and afterimages. Turner qtd. Referring to the three primary colors he believed to be the active constituents of white light, Turner indicates that the painting is about the nature of light and the creation of color. At the same time, though one painting features destruction by water and one creation by an act of light, each invokes the other as night invokes day.

In each, Turner cites the fragility as well as the strength of light. Thus, he restores an emphasis on darkness as a value in art and in nature, which he felt Goethe had neglected. Although critics discuss the pair of paintings as both about the Noahitic flood—with some critics employing Biblical verses and midrash to connect Noah to Moses—Turner may be layering several narratives. Turner can easily be painting several Biblical narratives at once, referring viewers backward to the Genesis moment when light is created from the void and forward to the Christian resurrection that which, for most Victorian Christians would redeem man from darkness, sin, and destruction.

On the other hand, the emergence of Ararat to light returns us to Genesis and the first creation and it prefigures Mt. That which is a salvation the ark on Ararat leads to a responsibility and new contract Moses on Sinai. Yet what does the handling of time have to do with color?

Goethe's Theory of Colours, Part 1

Just as sacred time is all time, the world of light, separated from darkness by God in Genesis, is a bright bubble holding all colors, as Sir Isaac Newton might agree. The second painting acknowledges not just change, transience, and death, but even more: human perception and the co-creativity demanded of a viewer by the painting. Holman Hunt, especially, was extremely interested in color and kept abreast of new pigments and color theories and practices.

His keen interest in durable materials and in technique lasted all his life. We know more about Pre-Raphaelite techniques from his writings than we know from any other practitioner Hackney By the s, he could select hues from a great variety of pigments available, fully understanding their advantages and drawbacks. A brief look at another celebrated, complex painting Fig. The sheep sometimes look pinkish-yellowish, sometimes darker and occasionally almost blue, even though we know they are white in hue.

Similarly, a tall dark tree in front of a field casts a green shadow on grass, though we know the shadow, in reality, is darker.


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  • We might expect such reflections in water, but Hunt also has fields and clothing reflect the blue sky or the shadows created by overhanging trees. Yet Hunt also exploits contrast.

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    The luminous yellow field of corn into which one sheep has strayed, is especially striking since it sets up an extreme contrast with the dark trunks in front of it and the sunny foliage behind it in the distance. The areas of light and dark, not in balance, document a different use of color than the chiaroscuro balancing of light and shade employed by the predecessors Hunt had rejected Barringer Instead, Hunt documents everything he sees exactly as natural light hits it.

    Most painters, as is well known, employ colors allegorically see Landow. Purity is compromised. While some Victorian viewers understood the painting as an allegory of the threats of inebriation and sexual flirtation, others saw it as fundamentally about the danger to the flock during a contemporary moment of religious controversy Tractarianism. In the Bible a hireling shepherd, who neglects the sheep, is purposely contrasted with the Good Shepherd in John Sleepeth or waketh thou, jolly shepherd?

    Thy sheep be in the corn; And for one blast of thy minikin mouth, Thy sheep shall take no harm. He was a type thus of other muddle headed pastor who instead of performing their services to their flock—which is in constant peril—discuss vain questions of no value to any human soul. In overturning conventions of form, color, and topic, through realism and allegory and in employing color excessively, Hunt risked the taunting some of his paintings received.

    Yet, through open air practices, exact attention to shadow and light, new pigments, new ground color, altered use of perspective, and the use of vibrant tones and color gradations and contrasts, Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelites forged a different path for optical truth in nineteenth-century art that would impress the exacting John Ruskin and inspire later artists from Whistler to the French Impressionists.

    The repudiation of traditional uses of color and the development of new techniques might well have occurred without the appearance of Theory of Colours. Returning Renaissance coloring to British Victorian painters and stimulating a study of color effects under varied conditions, Eastlake built on the changes in palettes and practices that Constable, Turner, and Delacroix had already begun. Linda M. Author, co-author and editor of seven other books, including Rewriting the Victorians Routledge, , re-issue , she is currently working on Thomas Hardy.

    Shires, Linda M. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. The King James Bible. New York: Oxford Edition, King James Bible Online. Brewster, Sir David. ProQuest: British Periodicals. A Treatise on Optics. Bruneau, Anne-Pascale. Portail de revues en sciences humaines et sociales. Burwick, Frederick.

    Boston: Walter de Gruyter Inc. Crary, Jonathan.

    Publisher Description

    Eastlake, Charles Lock. Materials for a History of Oil Painting. Eastlake, Elizabeth Rigby. London: J. Murray, Field, George. London: Tilt, Finley, Gerald. Turner and Early Nineteenth-Century Science. Gage, John. Berkeley: U of California P, Garret, Ian. Glanville, Helen. Joyce H. Townsend, Jacqueline Ridge, and Stephen Hackney.

    London: Tate Publishing, Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Zur Farbenlehre.


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    • Hackney, Stephen. London: Tate Gallery Publishing, Harley, R. London: Butterworth Scientific, Helmholtz, Hermann von. Horz and S. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, Holmes, C. Hunt, Holman. The Hireling Shepherd. Manchester City Art Galleries.