The first true German literature emerged in the monastery during the ancient High German era (750–1050) and bore traces of both Germanic-pagan and Christian culture. During this time, monks recorded, among other things. the pagan magical formulas “Merseburger Zaubersprüche” (c. 970) and the heroic poem “Hildebrandslied” (beginning of the 8th century) with roots in the migration period. However, the pagan element had early been supplanted by Christian imprinted works such as the creation story “Wessobrunner Gebet” (c. 800), the depiction of the world’s downfall “Muspilli” (late 800’s) and the ancient Saxon epic of Jesus’ life, “Heliand” (822-40). Otfried von Weissenburg’s gospel harmony (c. 870) became the pattern for the later German poetry by replacing the old stave rhyme with a final strap. During the 9th century, Latin – with the exception of Notker Labeo’s translations of ancient texts – prevailed and was also used in profane texts such as Ekkehard’s hexameter repose “The Waltharius song” (after the year 900) and the fragmentary knight novel “Ruodlieb” (c. 1030). At this time, the first female German writer, the nun Hrosvith von Gandersheim, also appeared with martyrs in Latin.
- Countryaah: Population and demographics of Germany, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.
During the High Middle Ages (1050–1250), the German became as a result of the reform movement emanating from Cluny again important as written language, e.g. in the salvation hymn “Ezzolied” (c. 1060). At the same time, the profane element of the poetry increased. Following role models from the French knight’s literature, versos such as Lamprecht’s “Alexanderlied” (c. 1150) and Konrad’s “Rolandslied” (c. 1170) were added. Wandering gamblers drew adventurous epic works, e.g. “König Rother”, which reflected the feudal society. From about 1150 a rich knight’s literature emerged with roots in the Germanic storytelling tradition with heroic epics such as “Nibelungenlied” (c. 1200) and “Kudrun” (c. 1235) and in French-inspired Hovish epics. Among the latter are works of the first great German epics: Hartmann von Aue with “Erec” (c. 1185) and “Iwein” (c. 1205), Wolfram von Eschenbach with “Parzifal” (1200-10) and Gottfried von Strassburg with “Tristan und Isolde” (1205-15). At that time, the poetic love poetry, the so-called memorial song, also flourished with Heinrich von Morungen, Reinmar der Alte and, above all, Germany’s first great poet Walther von der Vogelweide. Poet names such as Neidhart von Reuenthal and Konrad von Würzburg mark the decline of Hövish poetry. Nunnan Mechthild of Magdeburg and, above all, the central figure of German mysticism, Johannes Eckehart (Master Eckehart), and his disciples Heinrich Seuse and Johann Tauler helped develop the German prose language during the first half of the 13th century. The most important late medieval prose work was Johann von Saaz’s dialogue between man and death, “Der Ackermann aus Bohemia” (‘The Landman of Bohemia’, c. 1400).
As the role of the monastery and the knights’ houses diminished, cities and their citizens emerged as culture-bearing strata. From the church mystery games and the often rough-grained so-called play games, the theater grew slowly. The knight’s bag of verses was replaced by prose novels, and the memorial song sounded out with Oswald von Wolkenstein. A new, more bourgeois tone was struck in the 16th century by Hans Sachs and the master singers in Nuremberg.
During humanism and the Reformation period (1450–1600), many widely held ideas were reversed in writings by humanists such as Ulrich von Hutten and Erasmus of Rotterdam. All the overshadowing in importance was Martin Luther, who with his works, especially the Bible translation (1522–34), laid the foundation for a living German written language. The worldly literature of the time was made up of animal fables, fairy tales and folk books, eg. the book about Doctor Johann Faust (1587). The satire was a popular genre and was extensively cultivated by Johann Fischart and Sebastian Brant. in “Das Narrenschiff” (“The Fool’s Ship”, 1494).
The Baroque period in the 17th century was French-influenced, learned and language-conscious. Newly founded language societies seemed to refine German and raise its reputation to the same level as Latin and French. To this end, Martin Opitz published the first German poetry in 1624. Typical representatives of the Baroque literature were Hofmann von Hofmannswaldau and DC von Lohenstein. Andreas Gryphius took a special position with pessimistic pensive lyric and dramas. Also prominent were the religious lyricists Angelus Silesius and Paul Gerhardt. With the Thirty Years War as background, HJC von Grimmelshausen wrote in 1668 the first major realistic novel in German, “Der abentheuerliche Simplicissimus” (1669; “The adventurous Simplicissimus”).
During the first half of the 18th century the rational ideas of the Enlightenment prevailed in literature, and CF Gellert became the teacher of cultivated bourgeoisie. JC Gottsched’s literary theories became of great importance for the renewal of the German theater according to the French classical model. His theses sparked fierce criticism from Swiss JJ Bodmer and JJ Breitinger, and above all from GE Lessing, who advocated greater naturalness according to the pattern of the English drama. Lessing was the foremost representative of German enlightenment and saw in literature and theater a means of education for humanity and tolerance.
The joy of life, pleasure and perfection characterized the rococo literature which reached its peak with Friedrich von Hagedorn’s poetry and CM Wieland’s versatile authorship. A brand new, emotionally powerful poetry saw the day in FG Klopstock’s 1745–48 written hexameter repose “Messiah” (1755). This had a great influence on, among other things, the pre-romantic circle of poets, whose biggest names were Matthias Claudius, GA Bürger and JH Voss.
Around 1770 arose the Sturm und Drang movement, which under the strong influence of Shakespeare, Rousseau and JG Hamann advocated subjectivity, nature, feeling and rebellion against all rules. This group includes JG von Herder, Maximilian von Klinger, JMR Lenz and GA Bürger. The great classics of German literature Goethe and Schiller were also greatly influenced by Sturm und Drang, Goethe with “Die Leiden des jung Werthers” (1774; “The young Werther’s suffering”) and Schiller with drama “Die Räuber” (1781; “Robbersdaughter band”). Under the influence of JJ Winckelmann’s pioneering works on the art of antiquity, Goethe and Schiller developed a classic ideal of art and humanity, which was based on a harmony between freedom and coercion, reason and feeling. Exemplary, this ideal is Goethe’s play in the play “Iphigenie auf Tauris” (1787; “Ifigenia on Tauris”). The historically significant collaboration between Goethe and Schiller in 1794-1805 is called the Weimar Classicist period. Both poets published literary works during this time. the educational novel “Wilhelm Meister’s Teacher” (1795; “Wilhelm Meister’s academic year”) and Schiller’s drama “Maria Stuart” (1800). Together they also enriched German lyricism with a series of classical ballads (1798). With Schiller’s death in 1805, Goethe entered a new phase of life, during which he wrote the autobiography “Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit ”(1–4, 1811–33;“ From My Life ”) and completed the sixty-year work on the drama“ Faust ”(1808, 1833). Both poets published literary works during this time. the educational novel “Wilhelm Meister’s Teacher” (1795; “Wilhelm Meister’s academic year”) and Schiller’s drama “Maria Stuart” (1800). Together they also enriched German lyricism with a series of classical ballads (1798). With Schiller’s death in 1805, Goethe entered a new phase of life, during which he wrote the autobiography “Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit ”(1–4, 1811–33;“ From My Life ”) and completed the sixty-year work on the drama“ Faust ”(1808, 1833). Both poets published literary works during this time. the educational novel “Wilhelm Meister’s Teacher” (1795; “Wilhelm Meister’s academic year”) and Schiller’s drama “Maria Stuart” (1800). Together they also enriched German lyricism with a series of classical ballads (1798). With Schiller’s death in 1805, Goethe entered a new phase of life, during which he wrote the autobiography “Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit ”(1–4, 1811–33;“ From My Life ”) and completed the sixty-year work on the drama“ Faust ”(1808, 1833). wrote the autobiography “Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit ”(1–4, 1811–33;“ From My Life ”) and completed the sixty-year work on the drama“ Faust ”(1808, 1833). wrote the autobiography “Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit ”(1–4, 1811–33;“ From My Life ”) and completed the sixty-year work on the drama“ Faust ”(1808, 1833).
In addition to Goethe’s and Schiller’s classicism, there were Friedrich Hölderlin’s mythically symbolic poetry, Heinrich von Kleist’s innovative dramas, for example. “Penthesilea” (1808), and prose works, as well as Jean Paul’s novels and stories.
The poetry of romance (1795-1830) was marked by a protest against staggered ideals of reason and craze for the unconscious, imaginative and past. Through fragments, improvisation and open form, the romantics aimed at the artwork, which would blow up all genres. His philosophy derived the romance from JG Fichte and Friedrich von Schelling. It had two centers in Germany, Jena and Heidelberg. The more theoretically and speculatively oriented Jena romantics Novalis, WH Wackenroder, Ludwig Tieck and the brothers Friedrich and AW Schlegel gathered around the magazine Athenäum. The Heidelber Romance – also called the High Romance – that emerged after 1804 around Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim, was more historically, nationally and folklorically oriented. Bettina von Arnim, Karoline von Günderrode, Joseph von Eichendorff and the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, who became famous through the publication of folk tales. From 1810 the center of romance was moved to Berlin. With Adalbert von Chamisso, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and ETA Hoffmann got the romance where the elements of fantasy and demonia that are sometimes confused with the romance as a whole.
Goethe’s death in 1832 was regarded by contemporary as the end of a cultural epoch. The period that followed until 1848 was characterized by two main trends: the so-called Biedermeier with the writers Eduard Mörike, Franz Grillparzer, Adalbert Stifter and Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, who, in the light of the disharmony of existence, gave voice to a life of withdrawal and melancholy idyll, and Young Germany, with the pen as a weapon, fought against all forms of political, moral or intellectual oppression. This school included Karl Gutzkow, Heinrich Laube, Theodor Mundt and Ludwig Börne and Heinrich Heine, the most renowned artist with his ironically elegant lyrics. From 1840, a radical literary opposition was heard. Georg Herwegh, Georg Weerth, Ferdinand Freiligrath and AH Hoffmann von Fallersleben,
A turning point in German literature occurred after the revolution year 1848. Political positions were now replaced by “poetic realism”. Writers such as Theodor Storm, Wilhelm Raabe, Theodor Fontane (and in Switzerland Jeremias Gotthelf, Gottfried Keller and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer) depicted in their novels – often with humor – the life and values of bourgeoisie. In the wake of industrialization, a wave of nostalgia emerged, and historical novels by e.g. Gustav Freytag gained wide distribution as did the regional literature, which was renewed with Berthold Auerbach and Fritz Reuter.
The struggle for social and political rights of the day was mirrored by naturalism, which had its big break with Gerhart Hauptmann’s dramas, among other things. “Die Weber” (1892; “Vävarna”). Significant naturalists were also Arno Holz, Johannes Schlaf and Hermann Sudermann. During the last decade of the 19th century, a richly faceted literary Art Nouveau style developed, the common denominator of which was an opposition to naturalism’s unadulterated representation of reality. This flow was represented in Germany by lyricists such as Stefan George, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the most influential poet of modern German poetry, Rainer Maria Rilke.
Literature in the 1900’s and 2000’s
The period before and during the First World War was characterized by expressionism with lyricists such as Georg Heym, Georg Trakl and Else Lasker-Schüler and playwrights such as Georg Kaiser, Ernst Toller and Frank Wedekind. As its language pipeline, the magazines Der Sturm (1910–32) and Die Aktion (1911–32) were founded in Berlin. From the turn of the century, in reaction to the metropolitan literature the Heimatkunst movement, with the magazine Heimat as organ, had grown strong; its chief representative Gustav Frenssen, with the peasant novel “Jörn Uhl” (1901) became one of the most read writers of the time. In the same year, Thomas Mann’s naturalistic novel “Buddenbrooks” (1901; “The House Buddenbrook”) was published. He died until his death in 1955 with Hermann Hesse as the central figure of German Roman art.
The Weimar Republic brought a literary flourish in the spirit of the new fact. EM Remarque illusively portrayed the everyday life of the war in “Im Westen nichts Neues” (1929; “On the Western Front nothing new”). The chaotic political and economic conditions of the day were reflected in Alfred Döblin’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (1929), Erich Kästner’s “Fabian” (1931) and Hans Fallada’s “Kleiner Mann – was nun?” (1932; “How are Pinnebergs going?”). Bertolt Brecht celebrated triumphs with “Die Dreigroschenoper” (1928; “The Twelve Separation Opera”) and Carl Zuckmayer with “Der Hauptmann von Köpenick” (1930; “The Captain from Köpenick”), where he had fun with the authoritarian social condition of the emperor era, already unmasked by Heinrich Mann in the satirical novel “Der Untertan” (1918; “Undersåten”). Thomas Mann distanced himself from the nationalism he, like so many others, but, unlike the brother, hailed during the World War and professed in essays and the novel “Der Zauberberg” (1-2, 1924; “Bergtagen”) to German democracy and European humanism. George and Rilke remained the great names of the lyrics.
Hitler’s takeover of power in 1933 led to a mass escape of German-language writers, including the brothers Mann, Brecht, Döblin, Remarque and Zuckmayer, from Austria in 1938 Elias Canetti, Joseph Roth, Franz Werfel and Stefan Zweig. In exile, Anna Seghers depicted the escape from a concentration camp in “Das siebte Kreuz” (1942; “The Seventh Cross”). Here also came Heinrich Mann’s historical novel about Henry IVin two bands (1935–38). Thomas Mann completed the tetralogy “Joseph und seine Brüder” (1933–43; “Josef and his brothers”) and worked in the United States on his large settlement with the German being in “Doctor Faustus” (1947). In exile were also added some of Brecht’s masterpieces, including “Mother Courage und ihre Kinder” (1939; “Mother Courage”). Hermann Hesse, who had already become a Swiss citizen in 1923, completed in 1943 the utopia “Das Glasperlenspiel” (“Glaspärlespelet”).
To those who stayed, without, for example, Hans Grimm or Hanns Johst ally themselves with the regime and thus, with some right, count as the so-called internal emigration, heard Kästner, Fallada and Ernst Wiechert. Especially in Werner Bergengruen’s “Der Grosstyrann und das Gericht” (1935; “The Stortyrannen and justice”) and Ernst Jüngers “Auf den Marmorklippen” (1939; “On the marble cliffs”), obscene criticism is directed at the regime.
The literary situation after the end of the Second World War is usually characterized by the terms “Kahlschlag” (“kalhygge”) and “Trümmerliteratur” (“ruin literature”). The young generation saw it as their task to do away with the past and reconnect with world literature. The models included Kafka and Hemingway. An important year was 1947. Hermann Kasack then published the Kafka-influenced novel “Die Stadt hinter dem Strom” (“The City beyond the River”) and Wolfgang Borchert had great success with the play “Draussen vor der Tür” (“There outside the door”), which depicts the hopelessness of the returning generation. In general, radio played a major role as an introducer of the new literature. In 1947, H.-W. Richter and Alfred Andersch Group 47, who, with his democratic pathos and social-critical commitment, has long dominated the West German literary and cultural debate. Most of the significant writers belonged to the group for some time, where Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass and Peter Weiss got their breakthrough. A highlight was the so-called novel year of 1959. Böll then performed in “Billard um halbzehn” (“Billiard at half past ten”) with the Catholic establishment, Grass in “Die Blechtrommel” (“Bleck drum”) with Hitler time, while Uwe Johnson, which left East Germany in the same year, in the “Mutmassungen über Jakob” (“The Presumption of Jacob”) reflected the German division.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the literary climate changed significantly. Already in 1961 was formed in Dortmund Group 61 with the aim of promoting workers’ literature. Max von der Grün sparked a debate with his realistic depictions of the conditions of industrial workers, and Günter Wallraff raised his eyes with revealing reports from the bottom of society. In the 1970’s, in both West and East Germany, there was also a boost for women’s literature and feminist debate with names such as Ingeborg Drewitz, Karin Struck and Gabriele Wohmann. Irmtraud Morgner. The engaged social debate erupted during the 1980’s, which was more marked by “die neue Innerlichkeit” (“the new inwardness”) with the playwright and novelist Botho Strauss as the main exponent.
The situation in East Germany was marked at the beginning by the fact that most immigrant writers chose to return there. JR Becher became Minister of Culture, Anna Segher’s Chairman of the Writers’ Union and Brecht founded the Berliner Ensemble in 1949, which became an important international theater center. At a conference in Bitterfeld in 1959, the so-called Bitterfelder Weg was proclaimed with the aim of promoting positive depictions from working life. Its most profiled representative was Erik Neutsch with the novel “Spur der Steine” (‘The Stone’s Track’, 1964). Regardless of this direction, other writers emerged as the most significant representatives of the new socialist literature. Christa Wolf took a stand for the new society in “Der begette Himmel” (“The Shared Heaven”, 1963), and in “Die Aula” (1965) Hermann Kant depicted a building phase in East Germany. But while Kant remained party-faithful until the end, Wolf gradually took a more critical stance. It was manifested, among other things. in conjunction with the protest singer and lyricist Wolf Biermann in 1976 after a concert in Cologne under astonishing forms was deprived of his citizenship and banned from returning. This deal had fatal consequences for cultural life in East Germany. A large number of writers and artists, including Günter de Bruyn, Stefan Heym and Christa Wolf protested publicly, which led to extensive reprisals. Many were forced to leave East Germany, e.g. lyricists Sarah Kirsch, Günter Kunert and Reiner Kunze and the proseists Erich Loest and H.-J. Schädlich. From this vein, the East German literature never recovered.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the German literature landscape was given a whole new light. It was time for summaries and settlements. Above all, the East German literature was questioned. In the foreground was the question of the role of the author and literature in society. Hot debates were triggered, among other things. by the fact that many well-known (East German) writers either failed to relate critically to power – self-testifying portrayed by Christa Wolf in “Auf dem Weg nach Tabou” (‘Towards Tabou’, 1994) – or also had direct connections to Stasi. Typical are the autobiographical and documentary flashbacks with comments on the great upheaval that the German reunification entailed, e.g. Wolf Biermann’s “Klartexte im Getümmel” (“Clarity in the Riot”, 1990) and Heiner Müller’s “Krieg ohne Schlacht:
Seen from a ten-year perspective, the common social background in Germany has not really given rise to a new, “contemporary” literature. On the contrary, the German reunification paradoxically has produced a new kind of “GDR literature”, characterized both by life in old East Germany and by the encounter with the West, a literature that differs radically from the so-called lifestyle realism in the young Western literature, for example.. Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre’s “Solo Album” (1998).
The cleavage unit in the west and east is purely thematic that writers with roots in the old GDR often portray the relationship with Stasi, for example. Wolfgang Hilbig in “Ich” (‘I’, 1993), and also settles for socialist coercive jerseys and the lawlessness they were forced to live with for 40 years: Monika Maron’s ‘Stille Zeile six’ (‘Silence row six’, 1991) and Kerstin Hensel’s “Tanz am Kanal” (‘Dance by the Channel’, 1994). In addition to depicting the GDR and the actual fall – Thomas Brussig’s “Helden wie wir” (1995; “Heroes like us”) – a series of works reveals a melancholy delusion that many people from the East obviously feel in the new, reunited Germany: Brigitte Burmeister’s “Unter dem Namen Norma” (“Under the name Norma”, 1994) and Ingo Schulze’s “Simple Storys” (1998).
In Western writers, the eyes are not as often directed towards the post-war period. Instead, there is a marked interest not only in settlements and new perspectives on the Nazi past, such as in Bernhard Schlink’s “Der Vorleser” (1995; “The High Reader”) and Günter Grass’s “Im Krebsgang” (“Kräftgang”, 2002), but also a – fiercely debated – will to harmonize the past, eg. Martin Walser’s “A Fountain Fountain” (‘A Fountain Fountain’, 1998).
The 1990’s are a definitive end point for the German post-war literature. Admittedly, many older writers such as Martin Walser, Peter Handke, Günter Grass, Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Christa Wolf still write, but it is still a whole new generation of writers that has emerged in the arena. A bright star is lyricist Durs Grünbein. His formally conscious poetry in “Falten und Fallen” (“Weeks and Traps”, 1994) can be seen as an example of a literature that pushes boundaries. It also does the experimental prose works that put techno music and the party in focus, e.g. Rainald Goetz “Rave” (1998). This also includes the migrant literature that provokes and poses uncomfortable questions, such as Feridun Zaimoglu’s “Kanak Sprak” (‘Svartskallesnack’, 1995).
Particularly distinguishing for the latest German literature is what in Germany is called the “literary misses wonder”, ie. the spectacular breakthrough that a long line of young talented female writers suddenly received around the turn of the millennium: Judith Hermann with “Sommerhaus, later” (1998; “Summer house, later”), Karen Duve with “Regenroman” (1999; “Regnroman”), Jenny Erpenbeck with “Geschichte vom alten Kind” (1999; “The story of the old child”) and Tanja Dückers with “Spielzone” (‘Spelzone’, 2000).
Among the young German writers, one can see a confusion of all the new things in the footsteps of the reunification. At the same time, there is an intellectual consciousness in their work that is different from before. That is exactly what makes the new German literature appealing and clear-sighted, both for what has been and what is.
Drama and theater
A distinctive feature of the German theater has been the absence of central cultural state power, which at several eras paradoxically promoted the theater on the local level. Germany has never had a leading national scene; In return, the theatrical distribution in e.g. the modern federal republic is seen as an expression of the independence of the states in the cultural field.
The Middle Ages showed a rich theater. The mystery games were released in the 1300’s from the liturgy, an incipient stage realism assumed a partly folk character and they began to play in German. Among the related passion games, in Oberammergau, which has been regularly performed since 1634, has gained world reputation. At the same time, the established games were developed as a simpler popular theater form.
During the Reformation, the learned school drama flourished. The genre was liked by Luther and Melanchthon but by the didactic basic attitude was artistically rather bland. Towards the end of the 16th century, this medieval theater culture was lost in importance as a number of professional English and Italian theater companies applied to the German petty princes. The repertoire was renewed and the playing style was freed from the previous stylization.
This influence was succeeded by a French towards the end of the 17th century, and French plays were played at the larger courts. The French orientation was also the basis for the short-lived success of JC Gottsched and FC Neuber with his ensemble in Leipzig in the 1730’s. By the mid-18th century, a national German theater culture was emerging seriously. The most important of the theaters that were created in a remarkably short time was in Hamburg, led by Friedrich Schröder and with GE Lessing as a playwright. Another important theater was located in Mannheim.
Lessing admired Shakespeare; English influence became even clearer in the 1770’s Sturm und Drang drama, represented by JMR Lenz with “Der Hofmeister” (“The Informator”, 1774), Goethe with “Götz von Berlichingen” (1773) and Schiller with “Die Räuber” (1781; “The band of robbers”). However, the latter soon abandoned the pre-romance of a more classic humanism. However, at the theater run by Goethe in Weimar, their drama could achieve success. Heinrich von Kleist, who was active in the early 19th century, was not played during his lifetime, but, like the later Georg Büchner, gained great importance in the 20th century.
During the first half of the 19th century, three significant playwrights appeared: CD Grabbe, Friedrich Hebbel and, above all, Georg Büchner, whose innovative, socially engaged works, among others. “Woyzeck” (1837, printed 1878, erected in 1913, had great influence on the modern German drama). The 19th century was otherwise not a great century for German theater. Apart from Ludwig Tieck’s efforts as a playwright and director, among others. of an Elizabethan-inspired set of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Berlin in 1843, the romance produced few theatrical men of rank. The ensemble ensemble play used in Goethe’s Weimar and Lessings Hamburg became rare during the time of the big star actors. KL Immermann at the theater in Düsseldorf tried to maintain an artistic standard in addition to the pure stellar play.
With the court theater in Meiningen, in the 1870’s, a decisive step was taken towards a theater focused on directing art and elaborate interaction. At the breakthrough of the modern theater around the turn of the century, however, their historically authentic realism was overplayed. Otto Brahms Freie Bühne in Berlin was started in 1889 as a stage for the new naturalism. Gerhart Hauptmann wrote the first naturalistic dramas, eg. “Die Weber” (1892; “Vävarna”). In 1890, the labor movement related association Freie Volksbühne also started its new organizational work to get the theater audience into innovative performances.
However, naturalism quickly played its part. The German theater was also inspired by more symbolist visionaries such as Adolphe Appia and Gordon Craig. Austrian director Max Reinhardt established himself in Berlin as the leading modern theater man. At the Deutsches Theater he excelled in an anti-naturalistic, image-wise bold style.
The emergence of this expansive directing art was facilitated by the technical revolution in the theater, with Germany making the fastest progress. During the first decades of the 20th century, the German theater was a leader in Europe in terms of artistic innovation, but also in terms of public work and economic organization.
It was also at the turn of the century that the German cabaret was born. In 1901, OJ Bierbaum and Ernst Ludwig von Wolzogen started Das Überbrettl in Berlin. At the same time, Frank Wedekind worked with cabaret in Munich. As in the country of origin France, the cabaret in Germany was basically political. This was reinforced during the 1920’s, the classic period of the German cabaret, when writers such as Kurt Tucholsky and Erich Kästner provided the scenes with powerful satires. Erika and Klaus Mann’s Die Pfeffermühle became famous and operated internationally after the Nazi takeover of power.
The 1920’s theater was an artistic golden age, with directors such as Leopold Jessner and Erwin Piscator and actors such as Fritz Kortner and Elisabeth Bergner. Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill made scandal success with “Die Dreigroschenoper” (1928; “The Twelve Separation Opera”). The theater’s aesthetic modernism, reinforced by the expressionist drama, and political radicalism, together with the turbulence of the time, made Berlin the capital of European performing arts. The decade became one of the mythical.
Most of it ended in 1933. Kvar became a brilliant actor, Gustaf Gründgens, and an ideologically centrally controlled theater life, although the Nazis did not assign the theater the same propaganda value as the film. Many of the important theater houses were destroyed during the war, and from September 1944 all scenic activities ceased.
The theater’s reconstruction after the Second World War was marked by the cold war. In East Germany, the performing arts were determined by much of a socialist realism introduced from the Soviet Union, with roots in Stanislavsky’s psychological method. In such a climate, the Berliner Ensemble started in 1949 became an isolate. Its epic theater, through Brecht’s own staging, instead became highly inspirational to many foreign performing artists. Only the last decades of East Germany could see a freer and more radical theater culture. These included playwrights such as Peter Hacks and Heiner Müller.
The theater in West Germany, like the one in the East, was expanded during the 1950’s with large subsidies. German theater was re-organized. However, it was not until the mid-1960’s that artistic life could be mentioned. Then came dramatists like Peter Weiss and Rolf Hochhuth. These, which favored the documentary drama, were followed by the new age realists, such as FX Kroetz, and the more mythically multifaceted, contemporary-sensitive Botho Strauss. Postwar German cabaret followed the satirical tradition, e.g. through Die Schaubude in Munich and Die Stachelschweine in Berlin.
The theater of recent years has been the strong director. Examples of quirky artists and theater leaders are Peter Zadek and Claus Peymann. Through his work at Schaubühne in Berlin, Peter Stein has summarized the best in modern German theater: the association of intellectual rigor and scenic visual imagination. After the reunification in 1990, there is a certain shift in the artistic initiative to the east.
In terms of organization, the German theater has not significantly changed through the reunification. Dominate makes a wide range of state and city theaters, which are responsible for both theater and musical drama. The economically weakened capital of Berlin still boasts three opera houses.
During the years around the turn of the millennium, a generational shift among leading directors took place. Among these are Frank Castorf, leader of Volksbühne, a dynamic force in reunited Berlin, as well as Andreas Kriegenburg, Michael Thalheimer and the distinguished Andrea Breth. Several of them are also theater leaders.
The long legendary stage Schaubühne in what was then West Berlin no longer has the same central position. Brecht’s equally legendary Berlin Ensemble has expanded its repertoire and, under Claus Peymann’s direction, gives way to a director like the postmodern American Robert Wilson, who directed the theater’s own classic “The Twelve Separation Opera”.
In the heavily male-dominated theater culture, female playwrights have recently taken on an increasingly important place, including Dea Loher and Anja Hilling. However, these have not significantly changed the literary character that is happy to characterize German drama. Neither has the German theater gone free from the post-dramatic trend.
The world’s first film screening for paying audiences was organized by the brothers Emil and Max Skladanowsky (1866-1945 and 1863-1939, respectively) in Berlin on November 1, 1895, a few weeks before the Lumière brothers had the Paris premiere December 28 with a superior projector system. The film pioneer Oskar Messter (1866-1943) had already in 1897 produced 84 films. Cinemas were built, a distribution system began to operate around 1910, a film censorship was set up and production companies emerged.
During World War I, film production increased tenfold (from 25 to 250 films per year) – often propagandistic so-called Vaterland films – mainly due to the movie block that lasted until 1921. In 1917, at the government’s initiative, the state production company Universum Film-Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), which in the next few years most of the country bought about 130 smaller film companies and also the largest recording studio (built in 1912) in Potsdam-Babelsberg, now also a movie museum.
After the end of the war, the German film industry grew to become Europe’s largest and Ufa to market dominance. They attracted film workers from all over the world and challenged Hollywood with a production of about 600 films per year. From Denmark came director Urban Gad and star Asta Nielsen, from Austria-Hungary directors such as Fritz Lang, GW Pabst and Josef vonSternberg, from USA star Louise Brooks and from Poland Pola Negri. The story was close to the American movie, but they experimented with stylistic means such as camera movements, extreme picture angles, stylized scenography with dramatic lighting, visual effects and anti-naturalistic acting. The popularity of expressionism (see expressionism) along with a craze for horror, sensational drama and exoticism paved the way for critically acclaimed films such as “The Student from Prague” (1913, newly recorded 1926), Robert Wiene’s “Dr. Caligari’s Cabinet” (1920), FW Murnaus “Nosferatu “And Fritz Langs in Sweden totally banned gangster repos” Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler ”(both 1922).
A counter-reaction was the realistic new factuality, often social-critical films about contemporary poverty, unemployment and prostitution, for example. Pabst’s “The Joyous Street” (1925) and “Pandoras Box” (1929) and Piel Jutzis (1896-1946) “Mother Krausens Fahrt in Glück” (1929). Other popular genres include the chamber plays with titles such as Murnau’s “Last Laugh” (1924) and “Tartuffe” (1926) and the adventure romantic mountain films, with Arnold Fanck (1889-1974) as the main director (“The Secret of the Mountain”, 1926) and Leni Riefenstahl as the biggest star.
The most lavish, however, were story dramas, such as the right-wing nationalist Fridericus films about the Prussian war king Fredrik the Great beginning in “Fridericus Rex” (1923), or allegorical stories such as Lang’s “Nibelungen” (1924) and the science fiction epic “Metropolis” (1927)). The latter film became so expensive that Ufa in 1925–27 was forced into a financially unfavorable collaboration, the so-called Parufamet, with the Hollywood companies Paramount and MGM. During the decade, the experimental film also flourished with names such as Hans Richter and Walter Ruttmann, whose feature film “Berlin – a metropolitan symphony” (1927) became the style formation for poetic cityscapes.
On the one hand, the first years of the audio film and the last before the Nazis took power produced major films such as Josef von Sternberg’s “The Blue Angel” (1930), Lang’s “M” (1931), Pabst’s “The Twelve Separation Opera” (1931), Piel Jutzi’s “Berlin-Alexanderplatz” (1931) and Slatan Dudow’s Communist “Kuhle Wampe or Who Belongs to the World” (1932). On the other hand, the sound film was claimed by light-weight operetta and music films, often starring Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch. In the production, the domestic sound patent from Tobis-Klangfilm was used, and also by the color system, Agfacolor, which the photo technology company Agfa developed during the 1930’s to challenge Technicolor’s monopoly.
In 1927, Ufa was reconstructed by the right-wing entrepreneur Alfred Hugenberg, and at the Nazi takeover of power in 1933, Ufa was nationalized at the same time as Joseph Goebbel’s Ministry of Propaganda took control of all aspects of the film industry – censorship, exports, etc. – through the newly established Reich Film Chamber. Jewish film workers were banned, others were subjected to professional bans for political reasons. The measures prompted hundreds of the top film workers to leave Germany: directors such as Wilhelm (later William) Dieterle, Fritz Lang, Max Ophüls, Billy Wilder, Douglas Sirk and Robert Siodmak, photographers such as Karl Freund and Rudolph Maté, producers such as Erich Pommer, composers such as Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill and actors such as Elisabeth Bergner, Marlene Dietrich, Fritz Kortner, Peter Lorre and Conrad Veidt. The Third Reich propaganda films include party films such as “Hitler Boy Quex” (1933) Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary films, mainly “The Triumph of the Will” (1935), films about historical leadership figures such as “Bismarck” (1940) and anti-Semitic films such as “Jud Süss” and “Der ewige Jude” (both 1940). The political message was also deliberately placed in entertainment films with stars such as Zarah Leander, Marika Rökk, Kristina Söderbaum andHeinz Rühmann. This applied not only to productions of ideologically charged directors such as Veit Harlan and Hans Steinhoff, but also to films by more “unpolitical” directors such as Willi Forst and Josef von Báky (1902-66), who were responsible for Ufa’s lavish anniversary film “Münchhausen” (1943).. During the Third Reich, a total of approximately 1,100 feature films were produced.
A fragmentation of the film industry’s resources delayed the production of new films. Gradually, however, it got going; inter alia films that made up the post-war era were produced, such as Helmut Käutner’s “Autostrada” (1947). With state and regional efforts (including the Berlin Festival founded in 1951 and a state film foundation established in 1968), the production and growth of new film companies increased. Films were made by both politically compromised directors such as Harlan and returning emigrants such as Lorre, Siodmak and Ophüls. Among the new filmmakers included Wolfgang Staudte, initially active in East Germany, and actor Bernhard Wicki, best known for the anti-war film “Die Brücke” (1959). The most successful genre of the 1950’s was the home movie, but also soldier films and Karl May western films about Winnetou and Old Shatterhand were popular.
The renewal came in 1962 with the Oberhausen Manifesto in which 26 young filmmakers broke with the previous film, including Alexander Kluge, Edgar Reitz, Jean-Marie Straub and Volker Schlöndorff. However, it was not until the late 1970’s that the West German film gained international recognition, initially initially thanks to films by RW Fassbinder (“Maria Braun’s Marriage”, 1979), Wim Wenders (“The American Friend”, 1977) and Schlöndorff, whose “Bleckrumman” (1979) captured both the Gold Palm at Cannes and an Oscar, as well as Margarethe von Trotta (“Two German Sisters”, 1981), Werner Herzog (“Fitzcarraldo”, 1982) andHans-Jürgen Syberberg (“Hitler – a film from Germany”, 1978).
In 1981, German film got its first international box office success with Wolfgang Petersen ‘s “Ubåten”. Like the younger compatriot Roland Emmerich (born 1955), the 1983 feature film debut with the science fiction thriller “Countdown,” he moved to the United States toward the end of the decade. Other internationally acclaimed names during the period include comedy directors Percy Adlon (“Baghdad Café”, 1987) and Doris Dörrie (“Karlar”, 1985). With his company Constantin Film, producer Bernd Eichinger (1949–2011) became one of Europe’s most commercially successful producers. to “The Infinite History” (1984) and “The Name of the Rose” (1986). From 1985–90, approximately 65 feature films were produced annually.
Already in 1946, the Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft (DEFA) was founded, which in 1951 became state-owned, and since the company had the old Ufaateljées in Potsdam-Babelsberg, a regular film production soon came to fruition. With socially engaged works such as Staudte’s “The Murderers Are Among Us” (1946), Georg C. Klarens (1900–62) “Wozzeck” (1947) and Kurt Maetzig’s “I Marry a Jew” (1947), the production reached a short time a high, later unmatched, artistic level.
After the founding of the GDR in 1949, political pressure hardened and socialist realism became a guideline. Since the party censure blocked films for alleged formalism and ideological deviations in connection with Khrushchev’s fall in 1964, political pressure gradually decreased. Nevertheless, the production mostly resulted in technically well-made but unassuming films, largely due to self-censorship. From the 1970’s, well-known filmmakers such as Konrad Wolf (1925–82, “Mama, ich lebe”, 1976) and Frank Beyer (1932–2006), who directed the only Oscar-nominated DDR film, “Jakob, the liar” (1973, newly recorded in 1999 in the US), after Jurek Becker’s novel from 1969. In the 1980’s, directors such as Roland Gräf (born 1934) were added; “Fallada – the last chapter”, 1988), Lothar Warneke (1936–2005; “Die Beunruhigung”, 1982) and Hermann Zschoche (born 1934; “Insel der Schwäne”, 1983).
DEFA attached great importance to the documentary, whose main representatives were the couple Andrew and Annelie Thorndike (1905–79 respectively born 1925, “Unternehmen Teutonenschwert”, 1958), Walter Heynowski (born 1927) and Gerhard Scheumann (1930–88; “Am Wassergraben”)., 1976).
In 1990, DEFA had 83 permanent documentary film directors. The animation and children’s films also had a prominent place. During the 1980’s, film production comprised 15-20 feature films per year. In total, about 900 feature films, 800 animation films and over 3,000 documentary and short films were produced in the GDR.
Germany after the 1989 reunification
Due to an international financial crisis and the costly reunification, the early 1990’s became an uncertain time for film production, and many well-known names worked abroad. The gay activist Rosa von Praumheim (born 1942) was one of the few who made an impression outside the homeland with, among other things, “I Am My Own Woman” (1992). Towards the end of the decade, however, a number of new names presented themselves. After the breakthrough “Spring, Lola” (1998), Tom Tykwer got an international career with, among other things. “Heaven” (2001) and the American thriller “The International” (2009). Former cinematographer Wolfgang Becker (born 1954) made a name for himself with the comedy “Good Bye Lenin!” (2003), and in 2004, Turkish-German director Fatih Akin (born 1973)) a festival favorite with “Against the Wall”.
During the 2000’s, German films have been recognized for a number of Oscar-nominated films, such as World War II dramas “Undergången” (2004) by Oliver Hirschbiegel (born 1957) and “Sophie Scholl – the last days” (2005) by Marc Rothemund (born 1963) and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarcks (born 1973) Academy Award-winning GDR depiction “The Life of Others” (2006). The Red Army faction (RAF), by the tabloid press called the Baader – Meinhof League, has been treated in a series of films since the 1970’s, from “The Lost Honor of Katarina Blum” (1975), after a novel by Heinrich Böll, to Fassbinder’s “The third generation ”(1979) and Rheinhard Hauffs (born 1939)“ Stammheim ”(1986). One kind of endpoint was Uli Edels (born 1947)) Oscar nominated “The Baader-Meinhof Complex” (2008), produced by Bernard Eichinger after Stefan Austs book. A horror subculture has flourished since the 1980’s with internationally known directors in the low-budget union such as Jörg Buttgereit (born 1963; “Nekromantik”, 1987) and Uwe Boll (born 1965; “BloodRayne”, 2005).
Production collaborations between film companies in Germany and Sweden have a history dating back to the 1920’s, when the Swedish Film Industry combined its resources with German Westi in the company North-Westi, which made some major productions with actors from both countries, including “The Ingmar Heritage” (1925). During the 1960’s and 1970’s SF / Artfilm (later NordArt) collaborated in the same way with West German Beta-Film in the production of a TV series and two feature films about Pippi Longstocking. Beginning in the 1993–94 Sjöwall – Wahlofa film animations, a number of Swedish-German co-productions of Swedish police films were initiated, which continued with, among other things. The Becks series 1997–2010 and the Wallanders series 2001–10.
Already in 1842 the first photo studios were opened in Berlin, and the artistic value of photography was also recognized early. In 1893, for example, the Hamburg Art Gallery’s walls for a repeated exhibition for several years.
In response to the sentimentality and false romance cultivated on the walls of photo galleries, two phalanges arose in Germany in the 1920’s. At the Bauhaus school they worked with photo montage and collage, sometimes in combination with typography. Against this subjective experimentation, the new factuality was set with Karl Blossfeldt and Albert Renger-Patzsch as most well-known names. With maximum sharpness and detail they depicted objects and plants.
August Sander’s portrait, which gave a cross-section of Germany’s social structure, was another form of curiosity. For example, in a number of picture magazines, Erich Salomon, Alfred Eisenstaedt and Felix H. Man interesting reporting with strong realistic feeling. Several reportage photographers and experimentally working photographers were forced to emigrate at the takeover of the Nazis, as were fashion photographers Horst P. Horst and Helmut Newton.
After World War II, Otto Steinert started photo teaching in Saarbrücken, partly based on the Bauhaus ideas; he also organized three major exhibitions called “Subjective Photography” in the 1950’s. Clear traces of both curiosity and experimental desire remain in today’s German art photography.
The photo industry was also established early in Germany. Until the 1960’s, the more advanced camera range was dominated by German products, eg. Leica, Zeiss, Voigtländer and Rollei. In the consumer sector (film, photo paper, chemistry), Agfa was the leading company in Germany. Every two years, the large exhibition Photokina in Cologne invites the world’s photo industries to present their range. In connection with this, a large number of high-quality photo exhibitions are also displayed.
THE MIDDLE AGES
In the German part of Charlemagne’s disintegrating empire, during the Ottoman emperors of the 900’s and 1000’s, a rich cultural life was developed, which also manifested itself in visual arts, primarily in southern Germany (Reichenau) and in northern German Hildesheim. In the book painting, a hieratic rigor prevailed, a legacy of Byzantine art, at the same time as a striving for emotional expression is evident through the dramatic gestures of the manufactures. In Hildesheim, under Bishop Bernward (960–1022), the creation of art reached a climax, manifested among other things. in the early-Romanesque bronze gates (c. 1010), where salvation history is portrayed in highly stylized scenes of an almost expressionist nature. See further Ottoman art and architecture.
Sculpture adornment of the cathedrals dominated the creation of art during the High Middle Ages. This happened to a certain extent in the domestic form tradition, but to a greater extent under French influence. The large companies included the cathedrals in Strassburg, Magdeburg and Bamberg. The latter houses Der Bamberger Reiter, an equestrian statue from the middle of the 13th century that is an allegory of the Christian knight. It is an early example of the heroic formula that later became common in Europe’s ruling iconography. In the cathedral in Naumburg an der Saale, the portal sculpture has given way to image adornment in the interior of the church with, in addition to biblical scenes, a portrait series (c. 1245-60) of highly distinguished founding figures, where the Naumburg master’s willingness to character portrayal is evident.
Individuality as an artistic motif gained further nourishment during the 1300’s, whose visual arts exhibit a higher emotional tension through depictions of pain and cruelty. The ravages of poet death in Europe in the middle of the century formed the backdrop for all artistic activities.
1400’s and 1500’s
During the 1400’s, a stabilization of the emotional state took place as expressed in design language and content and a bourgeois arrangement of themes and figures. Within the wood sculpture great richness and expressive power were achieved. Altar cabinets from Lübeck were an export product to Nordic countries.
The greatest period of German art occurred during the latter part of the 15th century and the first half of the 16th century. The preconditions for this were of several kinds: social and political restructuring, the emancipation of nation states, the emergence of a culture-bearing bourgeoisie, the spiritual climate around 1500 with its apocalyptic moods and, after 1517, the Lutheran Reformation. Of great importance to cultural and art life was the birth of the printing press here in the mid-1400’s and its growth. The ability to print and effectively spread words and images revolutionized verbal and visual communication.
The woodcarving and copper engraving techniques were largely developed in the German area during the 15th century. The woodcut was used for a more popular image production in a wide range of not least religious image goods. The copper engraving enjoyed through its exclusivity and ability to render fine details higher prestige. Among the practitioners are Meister ES, Martin Schongauer and Israhel van Meckenem. The one who practiced both techniques with virtuosity was Albrecht Dürer, who in his versatile artistry combined German tradition of dramatic storytelling and realism in the portrait art with impulses from the Italian Renaissance. An even higher emotional state has Matthias Grünewald’s religious painting, which in its intense visions of physical and mental suffering, e.g. The Isenheim altar (1512–16) conveys an almost surreal experience.
Realism became increasingly objective during the 16th century, as in Lucas Cranach’s biblical motifs and portraits or Hans Holbein dy’s documentation of princes and bourgeoisie in Germany and England in the 1520’s and 30’s. Albrecht Altdorfer performed the first pure landscape paintings in Europe around 1520. In the sculpture, mention should primarily be made of Tilman Riemenschneider’s penetrating character studies of saints and church companions and Bernt Notke’s grand altar essays and sculpture groups.
1600’s and 1700’s
After the middle of the 16th century, a decline period for German art occurred, which would, with some exceptions, extend to the latter part of the 18th century. The Thirty Years War (1618–48) meant that Germany never produced any internationally significant Baroque art. However, the palace buildings that were created in the various principalities during the second half of the 17th century and during most of the 18th century often received richly decorated rococo interiors, as well as the larger diocesan, monastic and castle churches. Inexpensive monumental embellishments were often performed by invited artists, such as Tiepolo’s ceiling and murals in the palace in Würzburg (1750–53).
At the end of the 18th century, two parallel currents fertilized German visual art. Under the impression of i.a. Winckelmann’s art history writing and aesthetic ideals resurrected an antiquarian design language with clear contours, sculptural figures and well-defined rooms. At the same time, romantic moods began to prevail, e.g. in landscape painting. The classifying design language and the romantic and nationally rooted content merged into a unity, which came to characterize German art in the following century.
The Napoleonic Wars and the Stateization of Ecclesiastical Property (1804) meant that older, mainly medieval art came into circulation and became available to collectors, which in turn helped to shape the aesthetic ideal of German Romanticism and constituted a prerequisite for stylistic and motivational historicism. The subjective, changed and visionary characterized the visual art of romance, most clearly with CD Friedrich and PO Runge. Within sculpture, neoclassicalism dominated with names such as Gottfried Schadow and Christian Rauch.
The group of Nazarene artists applied to Rome in 1810 to find forms of expression in the tradition of the Hungarian Renaissance and Raphael, which would also lead to the rebirth of the German cultural heritage on religious grounds. Leading figures were Friedrich Overbeck and Peter von Cornelius. The monumental fresco painting was introduced in Munich around 1830 by Cornelius, where it was expressed in a series of Ludwig I’s building projects, mainly churches and museums, and then spread across Northern Europe. The Nazarene’s influence on German visual art lasted until the middle of the century, when a contradictory aesthetic direction, realism, gained momentum.
During the Biedermeier era (c. 1820–50), romance and realism were intertwined in portraits, interiors and fairy tales (Moritz von Schwind). The idealistic painting reached an end point in Wilhelm von Kaulbach’s academic mass scenes with historical motifs. In the mid-19th century, anecdotal, everyday realistic motifs had a strong position as they spread across Europe through German and foreign artists from mainly Düsseldorf. Another expression will be found in e.g. Hans von Marées’ humanistically based painting and in Renaissance inspired sculptures by Adolf von Hildebrand. Rapid industrialization, the growth of big cities and the unification of Germany during the Prussian emperor characterized the latter half of the 19th century. a vital and far-flung history painting, which in some contexts idealized the rulers, in others with realistic indications, they presented the harsh conditions of the lower social strata. The establishment of the empire was documented by the versatile Adolph von Menzel’s slightly satirical rococo pasties, as well as Anton von Werner’s magnificent contemporary historical scenes. In opposition to the academic painting stood realism and symbolism, represented by, among other things, Max Klinger.
The 1900’s and 2000’s
At the turn of the century, Berlin became Germany’s center of art, while anti-academic currents prevailed, for example. in the stylish pluralistic sezession painting with names like Lovis Corinth and Max Liebermann. Die Brücke, founded in Dresden in 1905, was grouped around the aesthetics of expressionism. Munich became a center for avant-garde art when the first abstract paintings came into being in 1910 (Wassily Kandinsky) and Der blaue Reiter was formed in 1911. Expressionism was mainly represented by painters Emil Nolde, EL Kirchner and Max Beckmann. and sculptor Ernst Barlach. Notable artists during this time were Paula Modersohn-Becker, who portrayed the conditions of motherhood, and Käthe Kollwitz, who in his graphics identified himself with the proletariat. New factuality arose in opposition to primarily abstract painting in the 1910’s. Alexander Kanoldt. Modernism also expressed itself through style impulses from the outside such as cubism, fauvism and futurism. The international character of visual art was obvious and the role of the artist an alternative in a hierarchical society.
The end of the First World War led Imperial Germany to collapse, with a temporary liberalization of the art climate. After the revolution in Russia, artists immigrated from the east and were incorporated into German artistic circles. at the Bauhaus School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar. Germany’s position as a cultural and artistic melting pot was emphasized during the interwar period. However, the development was crippled by the aesthetically petty-bourgeois Nazism, whose campaign against “entartete Kunst” primarily affected expressionism, Dadaism and abstract art in favor of the “Blut- und Boden” painting’s fetal earth-music.
The art-historical cultural heritage was inflicted with irreparable damage during the Second World War. Restructuring and reorganization work is still ongoing (1995) and gained new relevance through the unification of Germany in 1990. meant that Berlin’s position as an artificial metropolis was strengthened.
World War II experiences characterized post-war art. “Weltschmerz” -oriented realism, expressionism, surrealism (Max Ernst), but also abstract art creation and in the GDR recommended socialist realism characterized painting, sculpture and graphics. Avant-gardeism has gradually strengthened its position and found expression in, among other things, “Fierce Malerei”, a kind of new expressionism. Of the New Expressionists, Georg Baselitz is the one who in time has emerged as the foremost name. Among the most notable artists of today are Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer, the former anchored in social critical and ecological thinking, the latter a postmodernist history painter. Mention should also be made of Gerhard Richter, who together with Sigmar Polke came to indicate a new direction for art in the 1970’s. Both are now world names.
Around the turn of the millennium, the position of photo art was strengthened in an international context. Some prominent German artists who have successfully worked with the photo media are Wolfgang Tillmans and Bernd and Hilla Becher. At the beginning of the 2000’s, photographers such as Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky have enjoyed steadily rising international appreciation. The sharpness of detail in Gursky’s images is overwhelming, and he works in astonishingly large format.
When Martin Kippenberger died in 1997, he had lived a life of feverish creation in a self-burning way. He was a provocateur, but also a charmer and entertainer in postmodernity. His works contain elements of both Dadaist rabulism, pop art and neo-expressionism. Posthumously, his fame has just continued to grow. Rosemarie Trockel, who belonged to Kippenberger’s circle, is now also a big name in contemporary art.
In the field of painting, realistic tendencies have reappeared during the 1990’s, e.g. at the so-called new Leipzig school with names such as Tim Eitel, Neo Rauch, Matthias Weischer and Tilo Baumgärtel. There are also irrational elements in their figurative works – realism gets surrealistic undertones. Initially, the success of this new painting was almost greater in the United States than in the home country.
Crafts and industrial design
When the Renaissance in the early 16th century reached southern Germany, it was done at the earliest by artists who have traveled in Italy and who then used the new motifs in their art. Albrecht Durer’s interior paintings are an example of this, as are Hans Holbein dy’s drawings, of which a significant part were directly intended as models for crafts. Those who mainly contributed to the spread of the style, however, were the so-called small masters (see Kleinmeister), whose pattern leaves appeared in very large editions; Peter Flötner, who made some of the oldest known furniture drawings, also belonged to the pioneers. In the northern German area, the Italian renaissance was more difficult to secure. Instead, they were trained here by, among other things, Hans Gudewerth drew a piece of furniture whose flowing rich ornaments were indeed based on Renaissance motifs, but which, in their painterly concern and tradition-based furniture forms, preserved much of the bedtime.
During the Baroque, the German craftsmanship flourished, mainly in Augsburg, which, together with Nuremberg, already took a leading position in the 16th century. Manufacturing had a distinctive luxury character with precious materials and an often driven design language; through extensive exports, they came to affect development in other countries as well. Within the jewelery art, the Drentwett and Jamnitzer families were prominent practitioners. Among the most characteristic of the German furniture culture of the time were the large cabinets. Hamburg cabinet and so-called art cabinet.
In ceramics, Germany took a key position early on. In the Rhineland, a salt-glazed stoneware was already manufactured in the Middle Ages (see Rhineland stoneware). In the early 1700’s, JF Böttger and EW von Tschirnhaus solved the riddle of the Chinese feldspar porcelain, which led to the founding of the Meissen porcelain factory (see Meissen porcelain) and, by extension, to the entire European porcelain industry. Of the many new manufac- tures of the 19th century, the 1879 Rosenthal Porzellan AG, which was built in 1879, became of great importance also during the 20th century.
Reputable is the German glass, both the medieval wald glass and the Bohemian crystal made in the second half of the 17th century (see Bohemian glass). Extensive exports of i.a. colored ornamental glass took place around the world from the 19th century, at the same time as the products were role models for other countries’ products.
Within the interior art, a piece was introduced in the 19th century to the bourgeois-pleasing Biedermeier, whose neat and comfortable furniture, often in light wood, contrasts strongly with the rigorous empiricism from the beginning of the century. Among the new styles of the second half of the century, the neo-Renaissance dominated, in Germany considered a national style; one side branch constituted the popularly rustic “beer house style” originating in the southern German Renaissance farm furniture.
Around the turn of the 1900, the Jugend movement arose, which got its name after the German magazine Jugend. Germany became a leading nation in industrial design during the first third of the 20th century. In 1898, Dresdener Werkstätten für Handwerkskunst was founded in Hellerau (later Deutsche Werkstätten), which developed a social furniture program based on machine manufacturing and good design. Architect Peter Behrens became the world’s first industrial designer when, in 1907, he joined AEG to design their products, packaging and advertising. In 1907 Deutscher Werkbund was also formedto refine industrial products in collaboration with artists and architects. Through standardization and mass production, everyone would have access to quality goods in good design and in factual form. The work ideas were further developed in the Bauhaus School of Arts and Crafts, founded in 1919. At Bauhaus an advanced form pedagogy was developed, partly the scaled-down geometric design language of modernism and the functionalist architecture. Bauhaus’s successor after the Nazis closed the school in 1933, became the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, founded in 1951. The Ulm school established the hyperrational, ascetic form that characterized German design for a long time and whose main representative is Dieter Rams.
In the 1980’s, Berlin became a center of opposition to the “conformity” and “Protestant” German design, while the design in East Germany’s floor plan, which was not disturbed by the fashion waves of the market economy, deepened the purely functional design. After the fall of the wall, the functional design survived, integrated with Germany’s strong “green” movement. In 1986, the renovated Bauhaus school in Dessau was also re-inaugurated, now with interdisciplinary projects and ecological design as the main task.
For Germany’s oldest architecture, see Carolingian art and architecture as well as Ottoman art and architecture.
In the southern and western parts of Germany dominated by the Romans, a number of camps developed into cities during the Middle Ages, including Mainz, Regensburg, Worms, Augsburg and Cologne. During the Hanseatic era, a magnificent brick building art was developed in northern Germany. of the German words. Monumental church buildings from the Romanesque period include the cathedrals of Trier, Speyer and Worms and the monastery of Maria Laach. Among the most distinguished church buildings in Cologne is the cathedral in Cologne.
The Baroque was an era of lively construction, with both regularly planned cities such as Karlsruhe and elegant palaces such as the Bishop’s Palace in Würzburg (see picture architecture), Zwinger in Dresden and Sanssouci in Potsdam. The Vierzehnheiligen pilgrimage church is one of the most advanced works of the period. An early 19th century classicism was represented by important architects such as KF Schinkel and Leo von Klentze in Berlin and Munich respectively, and around the middle of the 19th century Gottfried Semper emerged as one of Central Europe’s most important architects. In the middle of the 19th century, demilitarization of the cities was also initiated, which meant that large areas of land could be taken into use. The problems and opportunities that followed led to the development of urban planning as an independent discipline. Austrian Camillo Sitte’s artistic line was especially realized by Theodor Fischer in Munich. In the latter part of Berlin, Berlin became a typical example of a “stone city” with very dense apartment buildings. The pursuit of a modern style took its form in the Art Nouveau movement, manifested in the artist’s colony in Darmstadt, with buildings designed by Austrian JM Olbrich. A simple and low-key classicism was represented by a.k.a. Heinrich Tessenow, while Peter Behrens represented a more expressive design. The expressive line was later developed by Erich Mendelsohn. with buildings designed by Austrian JM Olbrich. A simple and low-key classicism was represented by a.k.a. Heinrich Tessenow, while Peter Behrens represented a more expressive design. The expressive line was later developed by Erich Mendelsohn. with buildings designed by Austrian JM Olbrich. A simple and low-key classicism was represented by a.k.a. Heinrich Tessenow, while Peter Behrens represented a more expressive design. The expressive line was later developed by Erich Mendelsohn.
During the Weimar Republic, Germany’s urban and residential construction attracted considerable international attention. Significant was the pedagogy at Bauhaus, where architects such as Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were active. Deutscher Werkbund’s housing exhibition Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart in 1927 became one of the most notable events of the time. During the Nazi period, modernism was expelled to industrial and traffic facilities, while monumental and residential architecture was determined for classicism and “Germanic” folk style, respectively.
The reconstruction after World War II gave the impression of Scandinavian but above all American architecture. Construction was violent in several respects, and set aside few distinctive works. Brilliant exceptions were the building of the Berlin Philharmonie and the State Library of Berlin, as well as the Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in the same city. Among other architects are especially notable Günter Behnisch, who together with Frei Otto created the special tent roofs for the Olympic Stadium in Munich. Behnisch’s free and open architecture has given him a leading position in today’s German architecture; a position he shares with OM Ungers, who works with strong consistency in the square as the basic form. During the 1980’s, the many spectacular cultural buildings of German architecture were revitalized by foreign architects, and the country’s unity has given rise to a large building need that has attracted architects from Sweden as well. However, the projects have so far been concentrated in Berlin, where large parts of the old quarter city at Potsdamer Platz and Paris Platz and the area at Friedrichstrasse in the former East Berlin are being built up.
Political fragmentation and the situation in the middle of Europe have caused German music to be influenced by external impulses. In particular, since the Middle Ages, Austrian music is closely associated, often inextricably linked with the music scene in the area that is now the Federal Republic of Germany.
In the 7th century the Gregorian song entered monasteries and law schools: Fulda, Aachen, Eichstätt and Reichenau. A remarkable cultural profile in the 12th century is the abbess Hildegard of Bingen, who among other things. composed some 70 spiritual songs. The French troubadour song of the Knights of the 12th century became German memorial song and reached its peak in the beginning of the 13th century with Walther von der Vogelweide. With Heinrich von Meissen (1250-1318), the memorial song around 1300 was turned into a master song, which in the 1400’s and 1500’s was cherished by the citizens of cities such as Mainz, Colmar, Augsburg, Danzig, Prague and not least Nuremberg, where Hans Sachs found personal expression within the genre’s strict control system.
The Reformation involved a musical renewal with the hymns of the worship service, organ and choral music that linked to earlier phenomena such as Nürnberg organist Konrad Paumann’s instructions for organ playing, “Fundamentum organizandi” (1452), and church songs from the 800’s Petrus song to the 1400’s. With the impulses from the Netherlands, the multi-voiced church song gained significant representatives such as Heinrich Finck (born 1444 or 1445, died 1527) and Ludwig Senfl. Luther and the Reformation’s “Arch Office” Johann Walther published the first evangelical church music work in 1524, “Geystlich gesangk Buchleyn” with 3 to 5-part hymns. In 1537 came the first Catholic hymn book. Significant efforts in church music made around 1600Michael Praetorius, Melchior Vulpius (1570-1615) and HL Hassler; the latter merged Italian style features with German tradition. Dutchman Orlando di Lasso, Munich’s chief chaplain, created multi-part choral works with new harmonies.
15th-century city musicians played ceremony and dance music in the tradition of the medieval players. The chapel was established at the court during the 16th century. The repertoire included both vocal music and dance suites with everyone as a special German element.
Heinrich Schütz, the great master of the baroque, derived impressions from Gabrieli and Monteverdi in Venice and was most of a long-lived court chaplain in Dresden, the leading Protestant court in Germany. In 1627 he wrote what was called the first German opera, “Dafne”.
In the churches during the first half of the 17th century the organ became a dominant instrument. The repertoire was enriched by JH Schein, Jacob Praetorius (1586–1651) and Samuel Scheidt. During the latter part of the 1600’s, Dieterich Buxtehude in Lübeck, Johann Pachelbel in Erfurt and Nuremberg, and from the end of the century Georg Böhm (1661-1733) in Lüneburg – master who brought the organ art to the baroque culmination with Bach.
The harpsichord was used for ensemble playing and as a solo instrument with compositions by JJ Froberger and Georg Muffat. As an organist in i.a. Weimar, chaplain at the court in Köthen and finally 1723–50 director musices at the Thomaskyrkanken in Leipzig composed JS Bach with incredible creativity. At the same time, however, Bach’s friend and colleague GP Telemann was more reputable. As church music director in Hamburg, he composed a variety of church music, orchestral and chamber music works and some 50 operas for the city’s opera, opened in 1678 by the citizens of the Hanseatic city, who did not want to stand back for the culture that, after the Westphalian peace, flourished at the furstehoven in Dresden, Braunschweig, Weissenfels, Hannover, Darmstadt and Munich.
The operas were provided with constantly new works by composers such as Reinhard Keizer in Hamburg, JA Hasse in Dresden, Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725) and his son Johann Gotthilf (born 1687, died after 1743) in Weissenfels. For the stage in Hamburg, Georg Friedrich Händel composed his first operas. The Baroque opera solidified in the mid-18th century in virtuoso arias and pompous sonority. Against art and slentry, in the Paris of the Enlightenment, CW Gluck’s German Reform Opera was directed, where the music was subordinated to a dramatic idea and gave stronger expression to emotions and conflicts. Another traditional line was the German song game, which linked to popular listening games and had spoken dialogue.JA Hiller shaped this genre, which culminated in Mozart’s “The Troll Flute” (1791).
In the instrumental music, the rigorous form and powerful sound of the Baroque were dissolved in the gallant style of the Rococo. by Bach’s sons Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and Johann Christian Bach. A third son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, represents the emotional style that reflects the Sturm und Drang era and embodies the romance. At the Mannheim Court, the symphony and solo concert were developed by Carl Stamitz (1745–1801), Franz Xaver Richter (1709–89) and Christian Cannabich. The Mannheim School’s instrumental style led to Viennese classicism. The sonata form developed by Joseph Haydn was taken up by Ludwig van Beethoven, which was drawn to Vienna, the center of German music during this era, when symphony and chamber music reached its classical perfection. Beethoven filled the forms of classicism with a strong subjective tone and began the romantic style whose first great representative in Germany was Carl Maria von Weber. Of great importance was Clement Brentanos and Achim von Arnim’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” (1–3, 1806–08), a collection of folk songs that often received new compositions; The boundary between folk music and art music was little significant during romance and late romance.
Later in the 19th century, the songstress gained masterful representatives in Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Carl Loewe and Richard Strauss. Weber’s main contribution was the romantic opera in the great form that culminated in Richard Wagner’s many “all-works”. Felix Mendelssohn’s romantic music has classic features, Schumann’s symphonies, chamber music and songs subjective expressions of emotion. Both continued Beethoven’s symphonic line, which was recorded and brought to new heights by Brahms. Max Regerlinked to Brahms as well as to the forms of Baroque and classicalism in large-scale orchestral, chamber music and organ works. Richard Strauss blasted the classical form into powerful symphonic poems with metaphysical perspectives in the imitation of Franz Liszt and Wagner, while in his operas he combined Mozart’s classicism with a late romantic tone.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the “Second Vienna School” with Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern became revolting through the twelve-tone technique. Some German composers adopted the atonality, others held on to more traditional forms. A personal, classically oriented modernism was represented by Paul Hindemith.
Nazism banned music by Jewish composers such as Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler and condemned twelfth and other modernism as degenerate art. Hindemith emigrated to the United States, as did Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau. Carl Orff and Werner Egk were accepted by Nazism as moderate and popular composers, but the critical KA Hartmann was forced into “internal emigration” and Hugo Distler, church musical innovator, committed suicide after his music was condemned by the Nazis.
After 1945, music life was linked to the development that the Nazis broke, in West Germany mainly through the “international holiday courses for new music” which started in 1946 in Darmstadt and gained great importance throughout the western world. Music sociologist TW Adorno was a leading theorist, and radical impulses were picked up by a new composer generation with BA Zimmermann, HW Henze and Karlheinz Stockhausen as the main names. Germany again gained a leading position in Western art music; prominent composers were drawn there: Pierre Boulez from France, György Ligeti from Hungary and Mauricio Kagel from Argentina. West German composers who appeared in the 1970’s and 1980’s included Aribert Reimann andWolfgang Rihm. In East Germany, where Eisler and Dessau returned after 1945, Udo Zimmermann was the main focus of attention.
In reunited Germany, a new generation of composers has emerged, such as Alois Bröder (born 1961), Isabel Mundry (born 1963), Martin Hauber (born 1964), Moritz Eggert (born 1965), Matthias Pintscher (born 1971), Jury Everhartz (born 1971) and Jörg Widmann (born 1973). Among composers of film music are Hans Zimmer (born 1957), who has been Oscar-nominated several times and won an Oscar for best music with “The Lion King” (1994).
The classical music life in Germany is still based on the historical structure of the greater or lesser kingdom and the principality with court theaters and court chapels. The hierarchy with Berlin at the top that emerged during the empire and characterized cultural life until 1945 has been leveled out in the Federal Republic.
The states are “culturally sovereign”, and the larger cities compete with each other. The main theaters have become state theaters which usually provide both speech drama and opera and ballet. Important opera centers are Berlin (with three opera houses), Munich, Leipzig, Dresden, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne and Düsseldorf. In total, there are about 70 musical theaters, whose orchestras usually also give regular symphony concerts. However, some of the foremost orchestras devote themselves exclusively to concerts: the Berlin Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic, the Bamberger Symphonics and the Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra. Large radio symphony orchestras can be found in Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Cologne and Freiburg (formerly Baden-Baden). Public service radio plays an important role in music.
In addition to the Wagnerfest Games in Bayreuth, music festivals are organized in i.a. Dresden, Schleswig – Holstein, Schwetzingen and Halle (Händel). Old music is presented in Herne, contemporary in the Danube and Witten. Music colleges are found in 30 cities, conservatories in twelve and music science institutions at some 30 universities. In the states there is a “Landesmusikrat”, a collaborative body for the music industry with representatives also for the white-branched amateur musicianship. Deutscher Musikrat in Bonn responds for an overview and some coordination of the entire music life.
Folk music traditions have largely been incorporated into art music. In the alpine regions, however, – in the fence of tourism – folk musical forms and instruments that are mainly found in Switzerland and Austria are cultivated: iodine, alphorn, chopping board. Blue chapels and men’s choirs are important elements of local festivities, especially in southern Germany and the Rhine.
During the early part of the 20th century, Germany was a music-industrial center with lively recordings and a large production of drummer music with influence not least on the Scandinavian countries.
A particularly German genre is the satirical political-literary song, which flourished during the 20th century on cabaret scenes mainly in Berlin and Munich, with artists such as Marlene Dietrich and Margo Lion (1899–1989). Kurt Tucholsky and Erich Kästner and compositions by Schönberg and Friedrich Hollander. After 1945, the genre was also developed by singing poets such as the Bavarian Konstantin Wecker (born 1947) and the exiles of the GDR Wolf Biermann and Bettina Wegner (born 1947). Famous drummer artists during the 1950’s and 1960’s include Lale Andersen, Gerhard Wendland (1916–96), Caterina Valente and Conny Froboess (born 1943) and big band leaders Kurt Edelhagen (1920–82) and James Last.
Like the drummer, the dance and big band music of the period was often given a special design with nice, preferably sentimental sounds. Post-war popular music in Germany was gradually influenced by American role models, mediated by the military radio transmitter American Forces Network (AFN), and American rock music was spread in cover versions by artists such as Peter Kraus (born 1939) and Ted Herold (born 1942).
From the 1960’s onwards, the German jazz gradually gained a stronger position through musicians such as trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, trumpeter Manfred Schoof (born 1936), saxophonist Peter Brötzmann (born 1941) and pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach (born 1938).
From the late 1960’s a more independent German rock music emerged, often based on style mixes of psychedelic rock and electronic music, such as the groups Amon Düül, Embryo, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh and the very influential synth group Kraftwerk. Singer Udo Lindenberg (born 1946) broke through in the 1970’s and has long been a profile in German rock music. Punk and new wave were represented in Germany by groups such as Die Ärzte, Die Toten Hosen and Böhse Onkelz as well as singer Nina Hagen.
During the 1980’s, the industrial rock group Einstürzende Neubauten achieved international success as did the synth pop group Alphaville. During this decade, a German hip-hop scene also appeared, whose wider breakthrough came in the early 1990’s with the group Die Fantastischen Vier. As in other Western European countries, hip-hop has a strong position among young people with an immigrant background, thanks to groups such as Advanced Chemistry and Fettes Brot.
Since the 1980’s, there has been a lively environment of heavy metal groups and its various sub-genres in Germany; a precursor in this regard was the Scorpions group. German heavy metal groups include speed metal bands such as Running Wild, Grave Digger and Rage as well as power metal groups such as Blind Guardian, Helloween and Gamma Ray. Locally significant sub-genres include teutonic thrash metal (Exumer, Sodom, Destruction), Mittelalter-Metal (Subway to Sally, In Extremo, Schandmaul) and industrial rock variant Neue deutsche Härte (Rammstein, Oomph !, Megaherz).
Furthermore, there is an active environment around different genres in electronic dance music (Liaison’s Dangereuses, German Ludder, Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft), not least different forms of trance.
During pagan times, the Germans performed ritual dances at large nature festivals. While Christianity was fortified during the 700-100’s, many dances disappeared because of church bans. During the Middle Ages, the quieter indoor dance and the wilder and engrossed outdoor dance were distinguished. Foreign dances were introduced during the 16th-17th centuries mainly from France and Italy, including polonese, galliard, volta and pavane. These occurred both at furstehoven and at the bourgeoisie. Among social dances from the late 18th century, the drum became the true German national dance closely followed by canter, scottish and polka.
The classical ballet was in the 18th century a dance form without intrinsic value, while the opera was the established stage form. With J.-G. Noverre’s arrival in Stuttgart as ballet master in 1760 began a creative time for the ballet. The many court theaters competed with each other for the best possible repertoire. Filippo Taglioni with his daughter Marie in Stuttgart 1824–28 and son Paul in Berlin 1856–83 were pleased with their successful achievements. Ballet master Heinrich Kröller worked during the first three decades of the 20th century to maintain a classical ballet tradition, which was then difficult to assert.
Isadora Duncan’s guest play led to the opening of a school in Berlin in 1905. Jaques-Dalcroze inaugurated his Rhythm Institute in Hellerau in 1910, where dancers also came for education. The great newcomers of the free dance or the expressive dance (Ausdruckstanz), Rudolf von Laban and Mary Wigman, received creative successors in i.a. Kurt Jooss, Harald Kreutzberg and Gret Palucca. Freestyle flourished during the 1920’s and 1930’s, after which its practitioners dispersed. What followed was an approximation to the French ballet mainly through Yvonne Georgi in Hanover and experiments such as Werner Egk’s “Abraxas” (1948).
Famous foreign choreographers were hired in the 1960’s, including John Cranko in Stuttgart and Kenneth MacMillan in West Berlin, who contributed to a ballet renaissance in West Germany. Pina Bausch’s revolutionary and internationally significant dance theater, founded in Wuppertal in 1973. Also contributed to this, in East Germany, the ballet flourished under Soviet influence with a high technical level. A prominent choreographer at the Komische Oper was Tom Schilling. Of major choreographers in today’s Germany, Americans John Neumeier and William Forsythe, both students and successors of John Cranko, are noticed.
The German pre-industrial rural culture has many features common to the different regions. Thus, profane festivals such as the May Celebration have been widely distributed in fairly uniform design, and several sagas have had characteristic motifs that have returned throughout the German-speaking area. But at the same time, the differences between the traditions of northern, central and southern Germany are often noticeable. a natural consequence of changing geographical conditions in the plains and highlands. This is particularly striking in the case of the farm types. In most of northern Germany, large halls have often been built with all the farm’s functions gathered under one roof, a tradition that can be traced back to prehistoric times. The center of this kind of courtyard was the open hearth in the far part of the house, calculated from the entrance end. South of this “low German” courtyard meets an Inter-German form, where a number of buildings, usually in several floors and with different functions, group around a square courtyard. This plan, the “Frankish”, can be found from the German countryside on the western side of the Rhine to Wisła and also in northern Bavaria. South of this, another form of unit house takes place, however, on several floors, where, unlike the low German house, the living spaces have been located to the front of the building, which is often equipped with hallways or balconies, often called Alphus. Similar division from north to south is common in German folk culture, and the three newly mentioned areas have often educated distinctive forms. This applies not least to folk poetry, where the Low German tradition can exhibit a number of distinctive versions, which differ from other German and / or international patterns, as well as the food culture. The forms of housing have their effect on eg. folk art. In the northern area with open hearth, wood carvings with, among other things, geometric pattern in carved cut an obvious form of decor. On the other hand, when using a carburetor stove or other type of tile stove, the furniture painting could flourish particularly rich in e.g. Silesia (now Polish) and northern Bavaria. An east-west shape difference is less common. To these geographically distinct differences are the consequences of the division between a Catholic Southern Germany and an evangelical Northern Germany, which are reflected in, among other things, party life. The “Evangelical Christmas Tree” and the “Catholic Christmas Nuggets” are an example of validity in our own time.
Folk culture is better documented and explored in Germany than in most other countries. Since the early 1800’s, there has been an extremely active home-building movement, which has resulted in well-equipped and numerous local museums. German folk culture has, over time, been extremely expansive and has greatly affected neighboring countries. By contrast, German folk culture has not been particularly receptive to its neighboring countries, although it is possible to trace e.g. Slavic features in East German building culture and Dutch-Frisian in the northwest.
Germany has long been a world leader in the theory and schooling of folklore research. Among the great pioneers were folklorists such as the brothers Grimm and Wilhelm Mannhardt and factual scholars such as Karl Weinhold (1823–1901). The latter created one of the world’s leading journals in the field in 1890, Zeitschrift des Vereins für Volkskunde, still an important international body. Of today’s theorists, Hermann Bausinger and Lutz Röhrich are among the internationally acclaimed. Recent initiatives include the Enzyklopädie des Märchens, which has been published since 1977 and is regarded as the most comprehensive project ever in public life research. The only major overall museum of German ethnology is the Museum für Volkskunde within the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, but at the numerous Landesmuseen there are usually departments of folk culture.
Germany is one of the major sports nations and is one of the world leaders in many sports. Football is by far the most popular sport as both wide and elite sports. Major international successes have also been achieved; the men’s national team (West Germany) has taken the World Cup gold in 1954, 1974 and 1990, the women’s national team World Cup gold in 2003 and 2007. The German league (Bundesliga) has the highest public average of all in Europe. Among the leading German football players are Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and Birgit Prinz. The most successful club is Bayern Munich.
Other major public sports in Germany are handball, ice hockey and basketball. The most practiced sports for football are gymnastics, tennis, shooting, athletics and handball.
The sport has been used for obscure political purposes on several occasions in German history. During the Nazi era, sports and body culture became a way to show the power and strength of the German race. The 1936 Berlin Olympics was one of the Nazis’ largest propaganda events.
In East Germany (GDR), sports success was seen as the measure of the superiority of the socialist system. Despite a modest population base, the GDR became one of the major sports nations alongside the United States and the Soviet Union. From 1968-88 the country took 192 Olympic gold (despite boycotting the games in Los Angeles in 1984). Above all, tremendous resources were invested in athletics and swimming, where the GDR was at times completely dominant, mainly on the women’s side. After the German reunification, it has emerged that the success was largely based on systematic doping and hard progress of talents from childhood.
Among Germany’s many sports stars include Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, the boxer Max Schmeling, tennis players Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, basketball player Dirk Nowitzki (born in 1978), canoeist Birgit Fischer, biathlete Magdalena Neuner, art skier Katarina Witt, swimmers Michael Gross, Roland Matthes, Kornelia Ender and Kristin Otto (born 1966) and athletes Marita Koch, Heike Drechsler, Waldemar Cierpinski andLars Riedel.
In winter sports, Germany has been mainly dominant in the tobogganing bob, toboggan and skeleton. Germany has organized the Summer Olympics on two occasions, in Berlin 1936 and Munich in 1972, as well as the Winter Olympics once, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936.
The German gymnastics educators Johann Guts Muths and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn pioneered the development of modern gymnastics around the turn of the 19th century.