Chapter 10 Aesthetic Views, Writings on Art, Patronage

In: Athanasius Raczyński (1788–1874). Aristocrat, Diplomat, and Patron of the Arts
Michał Mencfel
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Thomas Anessi
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Małgorzata Olsza
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Majesty and grandeur, combined with simplicity, guided by pure feeling and honouring the limits of moderation and good taste – these are, I believe, the qualities most commonly used in the language of art to express the notion of style.

The History of Modern German Art, vol. 1, p. 339

1 Basic Concepts: Beauty and Taste

While it is true that Athanasius Raczyński wrote about the essence and purpose of art in his letters and published writings, we need to remember that he was not a theoretician of art. His comments did not create an artistic doctrine in the full sense of the word. They were more of a loose collection of coherent but fairly general beliefs and ideals. Nor did Raczyński ever aspire to be a theoretician of art; in fact, he expressed a certain reluctance towards excessively theoretical discussions. ‘I once started reading Goethe’s Farbenlehre, but I found it too difficult to finish…,’ he wrote in a letter (from November 1868) to the painter Emil Löwenthal in which he thanked him for some useful tips he offered on the use of colour and light in painting.1 Nevertheless, Raczyński’s remarks on art provide us with a theoretical backdrop to his various artistic activities. His observations are, therefore, for the most part supplementary and ‘practical’ in nature. They represent a set of general guidelines and declarations, which provided a framework for his actions as an art collector, patron, critic, and writer. This notwithstanding, they deserve to be analyzed in greater detail.

Raczyński expressed his thoughts on art, beauty, and taste most fully in his introduction to The History of Modern German Art. He emphasized that this was only a provisional and general outline without any claims to being exhaustive, original, or insightful.2 Raczyński’s declared goal was merely to explain to the reader the perspective from which he formulated his views on painting and thus indicate the subjectivity of his judgments. For this reason, the reconstruction of Raczyński’s ‘theory of art’ presented below may not always seem precise and clear.3

According to Raczyński, the essence of art is beauty and expression, art’s goal is to arouse feelings, and the path to achieving this goal is the imitation of nature. The principles underlying beauty are universal, inalienable, and divine. When beauty ‘corresponds to its purpose’ (when the form of a thing appears suited to its purpose) and when it is in harmony with man’s deepest feelings, it provides an expression of God’s idea, and thus becomes ‘whole’ and can be called ‘positive beauty.’ This may also be called ‘true beauty.’ Sensual beauty derives from shape and colour, movement and stillness, a wealth of colours, and harmony among them. It manifests itself in terms of balance (a carefully weighed distribution of forces), relations (the compatibility of elements within a thing and harmony between that thing and other things set in relation to it), grace (lightness, elegant and effortless movement), and ornamentation that attests to the dynamism and wealth of its form. Moderation is the key property: beauty shuns all exaggeration. Raczyński, therefore, defines beauty – in keeping with a long-standing tradition dating back to ancient philosophy – as harmony, order, and proportion.

Beauty is an objective feature of a thing, but it is connected to subjective response – it is experienced by man. When it is in harmony with the most intense emotions in man’s soul, beauty is a source of amazement and joy – ‘the sight of beauty awakens admiration and joy, which are, like love, irresistible.’ Raczyński refers to this harmony and the resulting ability to arouse feelings as ‘expression.’ Beauty without expression is incomplete and offers only fleeting pleasure.

The principle of mimesis governs art, especially painting and sculpture. Beauty is achieved by imitating nature – not its external manifestation, but rather its essence because nature is a manifestation of the intentions of its divine Creator. ‘Imperishable wonders constantly reappear [in nature], they charm us each day, elevate our soul to infinity, awaken a love for God, make beauty manifest and the soul receptive to it.’ Therefore, the artist must transcend the external aspects of visible nature, in which ‘one sees only action and hostile counteraction,’ ‘the war of all against all,’ and reach divine, ideal nature, characterized by moderation, peace, and submission to laws. If the artist is able to achieve this and thus ‘fully understand the intentions of the Creator,’ his work will be a manifestation of a beauty that Raczyński calls ‘sublime beauty.’ If such work is at the same time ‘a reflection of what is noblest in the human soul’ and touches the most sensitive strings of the soul, it is a manifestation of beauty that is ‘both positive and sublime.’

Based on the above, Raczyński defines the goal of art as follows: ‘Express lofty feelings, recognize the perfection and symmetry of forms, understand the effects of light, understand how to represent nature without exaggeration of expression, shape or colour – this is, I think, the highest goal that art in the noblest, most dignified and truest sense of the word can achieve.’

In order to make these general guidelines more concrete and connect them with actual examples from the world of art, Raczyński used the category of style, which was of crucial importance in the theory of art and art history in the nineteenth century.4 Raczyński defined it best in his journal: ‘Style is a visible sign of specific principles the artist is able to make his own. It is a visible sign of a specific artistic mental approach that the artist either possesses intrinsically or manages to instil in himself. [Style] is a reflection of everything the soul experiences as truly sublime and characteristic. No style means no expression, no character, and no greatness.’5 Style, Raczyński added in The History of German Art, following on from Winckelmann’s ideal of beauty in art, is a harmonious combination of grandeur, quiet, and simplicity, adhering to the principles of moderation and good taste. The source of style is ‘pure feeling.’6 Style for Raczyński was not a historical phenomenon, i.e. a set of specific artistic solutions that manifested themselves in various works created in a given era. Raczyński termed such a phenomenon ‘fashion.’ For him, style was normative, timeless, and universal.7 In true works of art, style manifested itself regardless of when they were created: ‘Style has always existed and will always exist. One may like renaissance and rococo, braids and wigs, Borromini, trimming and chic, but never at the expense of style – a strong and genuine feeling, noble tastes, an ideal, sublime or dignified direction in art.’8

According to Raczyński, an ideal concept (archetype) of beauty and a sense of beauty are innate in man, though natural inclinations and upbringing may encourage or hinder their advancement. Raczyński attached particular importance to the latter. False teachings and following contemporary fashions, dismissed by Athanasius as ‘the greatest confusion in our soul,’ numb one’s sense of beauty and spoil artistic tastes. On the other hand, understanding and consciously developing one’s abilities, proper education, developing one’s tastes, and moral conduct foster a sense of beauty that becomes ‘delicate, proper, and in harmony with the laws of nature.’ According to Raczyński, aesthetics and ethics are inseparable and remain in a dialectical relationship: morality awakens the ability to discover and appreciate true beauty, while the experience of beauty strengthens morality. For Raczyński, the main task of art museums and state patronage is to shape and promote good taste and, as a result, moral conduct.

According to Raczyński, a carefully nurtured experience of beauty unspoiled by harmful influences is sufficient to allow a legitimate judgment of it – this applies to art as well. No special knowledge or eloquence is required to make judgments about the beauty of art. When abused, learning and eloquence distort judgement and are testimony to excessive pedantry and pride rather than true understanding and a love of art. ‘Refined taste, inner feeling, independent thinking, a love for the thing itself and not for passing judgement on it, the ability to rise above one’s personal views – I think these are what characterize an art expert. One in whom erudition and pride become a substitute for feeling ceases to be an expert the day such a change occurs.’9 Nonetheless, in-depth and comprehensive study and experience, knowledge of painting schools, and a trained eye, as well as patience and humility, are indispensable to acquiring a professional knowledge of the Old Masters.

According to Raczyński, undoubtedly drawing again on Winckelmann, art remains in a close relationship with prevailing customs, governments, and the current Zeitgeist: ‘In general, art, like literature, is an expression of the state of society.’ Therefore, its development is not immanent but follows the general logic of history: ‘all nations experience an era of poetry and art, an era of religious fervour, an era of science and, finally, an era of sophistry, heartless scepticism, and arbitrariness. The last era marks the end of everything that is noble, beautiful, and sublime because vanity triumphs over feeling.’ Raczyński recorded similar observations in his journal two decades earlier during the turbulent Napoleonic era, which he interpreted, inspired by the works of Montesquieu, whom he greatly admired, in terms of historical regularity: all nations experience periods of glory and decline.

Raczyński presents the history of art as successive cycles of birth, development, culmination, decline, and rebirth: ‘The human spirit perpetually moves in the same circle.’ It even seems as if processes, situations, models, behaviours, and even characters repeat themselves in accordance with the rhythm of history. Thus far, art has achieved perfection twice, as exemplified by ancient Greek sculpture and the painting of the High Renaissance. Inspired by pagan epic poetry, ancient Greek sculpture embodied the perfect beauty of the human body. Inspired by Christianity, the painting of the High Renaissance embodied faith and love. ‘Neither one nor the other deviates from the truth; both remained as close as possible to what is the most sublime in nature.’ Art in the nineteenth century, Raczyński writes, was at the threshold of its next great era: it would achieve greatness thanks to German artists.

This conviction or indeed this discovery was of paramount importance to Raczyński as a writer and collector. However, before we comment on this, let us first discuss the inspirations and influences relevant to Raczyński’s concept of art.

In view of the general nature of Raczyński’s comments, it is difficult to identify their source.10 Zofia Ostrowska-Kębłowska has argued that Raczyński’s views on art ‘were shaped not so much by reliable studies of aesthetic and philosophical works or his own philosophical enquires, but rather during extensive social and artistic contacts as well as by his extensive reading of “fashionable” works.’ It is clear that Raczyński was influenced by ‘the views of artists who were his friends, especially Schadow and Schinkel; one can also see the influences of Winckelmann, Rousseau, Wackenroder, Goethe, Chateaubriand, Jean Paul, and others.’11 However, I believe that Raczyński arrived at his vision of art as a result of thorough reflection (although we have to bear in mind that Athanasius was an art lover and not a philosopher) and careful reading of ambitious and sometimes old-fashioned books. Of course, as Ostrowska-Kębłowska rightly observes, Winckelmann and Goethe also influenced Raczyński. An important role was undoubtedly also played by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Wilhelm Schadow. To the letter Raczyński explicitly referred in The History of Modern German Art, claiming that their art theories were in many respect similar.12 However, one more potential source of Raczyński’s inspiration may be identified, namely French reflections on art and literature from the latter half of the eighteenth century, primarily the writings of Charles Batteux, which were even more popular in Germany than in France.13

Batteux’s The Fine Arts Reduced to a Single Principle was first published in 1746 and was re-published in 1800 with two additional essays. Batteux explains in the work his theory of mimesis, arguing that the most important goal of art is to imitate nature – the imitation of nature is the titular ‘single principle’ underlying all of the fine arts.14 The model for the fine arts is not imperfect nature, as it appears to our eyes, but an idealized, perfected nature. Batteux calls it ‘beautiful nature’ (la belle Nature) and claims that it is governed by order. Taste recognizes beautiful nature as it recognizes the beauty of art. Both are its proper and only subject. Taste is inherent to man: ‘it is an inborn part of our minds whose function is to carry us towards the good.’ The domain of taste is the emotional part of man – the soul that desires what is good and beautiful. The soul wants to elevate and refine itself, ‘but it wants to do so effortlessly.’ The means to this end is an art that imitates beautiful nature: ‘belle nature, as it must be represented in arts, contains all beautiful and good qualities.’ This is because, above all, art shows things that are perfect in themselves, and ‘this perfection has always consisted in variety, excellence, proportion, and symmetry of parts, united in the work of art as naturally as they are in something completely natural.’ Secondly, this is also because art creates an ‘intimate connection’ (un rapport intime) between representation and the human soul, enriching and improving it.

In general, the views of Raczyński and Batteux were in many respects similar. The main difference lay in the importance of religion; religion was important for Raczyński, while Batteux ignored it in his essay. Indeed, religion was widely discussed in German philosophy of art in the early nineteenth century, above all in the concepts of Friedrich Schelling and the Schlegel brothers.15 Religious (Christian) inspiration was also decisive for the work of the so-called Nazarene Art Movement, in which Raczyński, like many of his contemporaries, saw the renewal of German painting.

2 Modern German Painting

Raczyński was convinced that his ideals would soon find their realization in German art.16 True beauty and style were to manifest themselves in historical painting, sculpture, and architecture. ‘German artists herald a revival of the arts, which corresponds to the principles I have just expressed,’ he wrote in volume one of The History of Modern German Art.17 Art, claimed Raczyński, was revived thanks to the religious spirit expressed by German painters who worked in Rome in the early nineteenth century – they were known as the Nazarenes.

In 1809, six young German, Austrian and Swiss painters (who could be described as Raczyński’s peers18), students at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, led by Friedrich Overbeck and Franz Pforr, founded the artistic Brotherhood of Saint Luke (Lukasbund), thus opposing academic teaching and the dominant tendencies in contemporary art.19 The name of the Brotherhood was in honour of St. Luke the Evangelist, the legendary author of the first image of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the medieval painters’ guilds. In 1810, the group left Vienna for Rome. At first, the artists lived together at the Villa Malta on Monte Pincio and soon moved to the abandoned post-Franciscan monastery of Sant’Isidoro. They called themselves brothers and lived and worked together. Soon, more German artists joined the founders, including Wilhelm Schadow, Philipp Veit, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, and especially Peter Cornelius, who, after the death of Pforr in 1812 at the age of only 34, took his place alongside Overbeck. The Roman public referred to this artistic brotherhood as the Nazarenes. Initially conceived as a derisive joke, the nickname was soon adopted by both the artists themselves and the critics who wrote about them.

The Nazarenes’ ideals were religious painting, as an expression of a deeply felt Christianity, and historical painting, addressed to the general public and forming an integral part of the nation’s life – leading them to attribute great importance to monumental fresco painting. Art was to be based on truth: the letter W for Wahrheit (truth) was displayed on the Brotherhood’s emblem, depicting St. Luke in a modest cell, immersed in his work. The Nazarenes sought inspiration from masters of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance who, in their opinion, were not overwhelmed by excessive theorizing and still possessed immediate access to the truth.20 Inspired by the Old Italian and German Masters, the Nazarenes moved away from the dynamic line they were taught to use at the academy and instead employed simple lines and strong outlines. A more nuanced and complex colour palette gave way to the brightness and clarity of primary colours. Firm and daring brush strokes gave way to a fine finish and attention to detail. ‘Early painting has become a real source of rejuvenation for art,’ Raczyński wrote.21

The Nazarenes gradually gained recognition, especially after the execution of two prestigious commissions, the fresco decoration of Casa Bartholdy in Palazzo Zuccari (1816–17) and the villa in Laterano called Casino Massimo (1818–29). The road to fame and greatness was open to them. In the late 1820s and early 1830s, the members of the Brotherhood gradually returned to Germany. Propelled by the acclaim they had won in Rome, they took up important positions in German artistic institutions, primarily in art academies. In 1819, Cornelius was appointed head of the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, and then, in 1825, head of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 1826, Wilhelm Schadow, professor at the Berlin Academy of Arts since 1819, was appointed head of the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. Schnorr von Carolsfeld also became a professor at the Munich Academy. After some time, he became a professor at the Dresden Academy and the director of its famous picture gallery. Veit became head of the Städel Art Institute in Frankfurt. Only the introvert Overbeck remained in Rome, avoiding ‘institutional’ temptations. Art that had grown out of resistance to the academy ultimately ended up in academic institutions. In the meantime, however, the academy underwent fundamental and beneficial transformations.22 The former Nazarenes quickly achieved a dominant position in the German artistic world, exercising a decisive influence on German art. The Munich Academy, led by Cornelius, and the Düsseldorf Academy, led by Schadow, became Germany’s most important art institutions. The Munich Academy was famous for its monumental historical painting with strong influences from Classicism, while the Düsseldorf Academy specialized in religious and historical oil paintings.23

Raczyński described the rise of the painters associated with the Brotherhood of St. Luke in Germany in the following words: the ‘holy fire’ kindled by the Nazarenes in Rome spread to the North, to Munich, Düsseldorf, and Berlin. ‘In these three cities, it is now shining brightly.’24 However, according to Raczyński, though German art was being advanced by Cornelius, Schadow, Bertel Thorvaldsen (whom Raczyński considered being a German artist), and Schinkel, it had not yet reached its full potential. It was to truly flourish thanks to artists of the next generation: ‘German art is close to its peak and the next two decades will be the greatest in the new era. Kaulbach, Lessing, Schwanthaler, Hildebrandt, Bendemann, and the Schraudolph brothers are still young, but in twenty years’ time their talent will reach its full potential.’25 German art, closely associated with the academies in Munich, Düsseldorf, and Berlin, but also Dresden, Hamburg, and Vienna, became the most important subjects of Athanasius Raczyński’s artistic interests (Fig. 98).

Figure 98
Figure 98

Athanasius Raczyński, Academy of Fine Arts in Munic in Wilheminum (former Jesuit college), watercolour, 10 October 1835

private collection

Since the 1820s, Raczyński had greatly been inspired in his writings by his conviction that German painting would soon reach its apogee. As a writer, collector, and patron, Raczyński was committed to supporting and praising the great rise of German art, and thus, art in general. The monumental and laudatory History of Modern German Art, according to the author, ‘had no other purpose than to draw the attention of other nations to German artists.’26 In Raczyński’s gallery, the focus shifted from Old Masters to modern German art. Raczyński protected and supported his favourite German artists. The Count wanted to play (if only a modest) part in this great artistic and cultural process, which he considered so important for the history of art. But more than just a triumphant revival of the arts was at stake. As we have seen, for Raczyński, art was connected with morality, and thus the rebirth of art was the first step on the road to the regeneration and renewal of civilization.

Raczyński’s enthusiasm for modern German painting and the exalted and prophetic tone in which he spoke about it can only be fully understood in the context of his beliefs and his view of modernity. Raczyński was disillusioned: he was convinced that he was living in an era of deep crisis and decay – he was witnessing the downfall of civilization. Not only were political and social life in crisis (although the collapse manifested itself most prominently in these areas), but culture, customs, religiosity, and even civilization as a whole were also affected. Entries in his diary from the late 1820s and the 1830s, so from the period in which he wrote his euphoric history of modern German painting, are predominantly gloomy in tone. The present is described in them as a time of regression, degeneration, and confusion: ‘Our century is dwarfed by the glory of the past.’27

Raczyński, however, was not a hopeless pessimist. He believed that this crisis would be followed by a revival – an era of peace, reason, and virtue. He probably best expressed his views on the world around him in a letter to Donoso Cortés. The document was written later (in 1849), but the judgments expressed in it are essentially similar to those voiced by Raczyński several years earlier. The letter is worth quoting extensively:

The times in which we live are above all characterized by the fact that we never openly state the goals we have set ourselves. We never refer to things by their proper name. We lie to ourselves because we allow pride to guide us. What relations will exist between people when such prejudices dominate? Pride will always be accompanied by contempt – destructive, insulting, and brutal. Whoever is touched by it is filled forever with contempt. Even if one’s heart remains free, the mind grows numb and feeble. Other times, we are held back by self-love. Self-love is a better child, but it is more unruly. It is much more active; it is always on the alert, argumentative, suspicious. It is kind to those who flatter it, but it attacks as soon as its thin skin is as much as brushed. Self-love does not reject reason – it distorts it. […] Vanity is on the last and lowest step at this ladder. It adorns itself with flowers and tinsel that the imagination creates and provides in abundance. It is happy, cheerful, innocent. It could become a virtue – but it would be a useless, ridiculous, and stupid virtue. In short, vanity is the desire to show off, ambition is the desire to be well-known, self-love is in the belief that one is well-known, and pride is knowing what one wants. And although we live in a lie, instinct tells me that Providence will once again save Europe. You might ask: and what is instinct? Instinct is, I believe, nothing more than a sense that is more sensitive than smell, hearing, and sight.28

Raczyński identified a profound moral crisis but also saw (sensed ‘instinctively’) a chance to overcome it with God’s help. Inspired by deeply felt religion and thanks to beauty, which brings goodness and virtue, art could become a herald and, at the same time, a tool for saving the world. Indeed, Raczyński’s artistic programme, which involved contemporary German art, had not only an aesthetic but also an ethical dimension.

Raczyński was not alone in his enthusiasm for contemporary German art. On the contrary, in the first decades of the nineteenth century, such feelings were widespread in Germany, where people recognized the importance of the great artistic breakthrough that had taken place there. This was the case abroad, too, with the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz noting that in Paris ‘Overbeck and Cornelius are recognized as the greatest masters,’ and ‘the paintings of the Düsseldorf school were well received by the local public.’29 Following the crisis of art in the eighteenth century, seen in the decline of both the Baroque and Classicism, art was on the verge of experiencing a rebirth. A turning point in art around 1800 was considered the beginning of a new and better era. Among the general public, there was a conviction that ‘Romantic artists,’ a term that until the 1870s referred primarily to the Nazarenes, would play a leading role in this process.30 This belief was in keeping with the general atmosphere of optimism that prevailed in Germany after its victory in the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon. This corresponded to a widespread support for profound social renewal and a belief in the revival of religion as a driving force in public life.31 Until the 1870s, the Nazarene Art and the Academic art inspired by it were considered the most important phenomena in nineteenth-century painting, and Friedrich Overbeck and Peter Cornelius, the ‘leaders’ of the Nazarenes, were universally praised as that century’s most distinguished painters.

Of course, there were opponents of the Nazarene Art Movement, too, including prominent writers and thinkers like the classicist Johann Wolfgang Goethe32 or the so-called Young Hegelians, who since the 1830s had been associated with the Leipzig magazine Hallische Jahrbücher für deutsche Kunst und Wissenschaft. However, compared with the enthusiasts for this new art, they were in the minority, and their opinions were much less resonant.

Nevertheless, at the turn of the 1830s and the 1840s, supporters of the Nazarenes began to question whether the hope they had placed in the movement had been misplaced. Disappointment, and even a sense of failure, were palpable. This did not mark the end of the movement’s influence on artistic thinking, but its programmatic aims were called into question.33 Raczyński himself was also confronted with such dilemmas. He noted certain negative developments in German art, including in the most important and most closely watched artistic centres, such as Düsseldorf, Munich, and Berlin.

During a visit to Düsseldorf in March 1847, he described the painting there as being in a ‘torpor.’ Few patrons and collectors were commissioning new paintings and, as a result, artists were disheartened. Wilhelm Schadow, the spiritus movens of the Academy, did little to address this situation. When Raczyński visited the city seven years later, he bitterly observed that ‘historical painting had almost disappeared in Düsseldorf.’ He also could not help but regret that many local artists had moved to other artistic centres – the local art scene was almost non-existent, and only a few artists seemed to him worthy continuators of the local school of painting.34 At the same time, however, each time Raczyński visited Düsseldorf, he discovered what he viewed as excellent paintings. He especially admired the works of Carl Friedrich Lessing, Theodor Hildebrand, and Andreas Achenbach. He considered the monumental frescoes in the Apollinariskirche near Remagen, which were painted by students of Schadow, Ernst Deger, Franz Ittenbach, and the brothers Andreas and Carl Müller, ‘delightfully beautiful.’35 He considered the works of Deger in the chapel at Stolznefels Castle as even more impressive and continued to hold Schadow’s pictures in high regard. Similarly, he never questioned the greatness of Friedrich Overbeck or Peter Cornelius and the achievements of the Munich school. Even among adepts of the Berlin school, which he criticized the most, he found great works of art. He thus continued to believe that the changes which occurred in German art in the first half of the nineteenth century were all-important and never stopped seeing the accomplishments of Nazarene and the post-Nazarene art as laudable.

He assessed this art movement in a personal ‘balance sheet’ in 1858, two decades after the publication of The History of Modern German Art. In it, he wrote that if the Nazarene school had suffered a partial failure, it was not the artists’ fault. The inordinate demands of their audience were to blame:

If the new German art did not meet all expectations, it is not to blame; to blame is the excessive exaltation of its audience at that time. So many great and beautiful things have been created in the past 35 years that the tastes of the audience had become more sophisticated. It is also extremely easy to demand absolute sublimation without any trace of imperfection. But when and where was such sublimation possible? Art in Germany is still moving towards the sublime and the ideal with more success and better results than in any other country. […] Here and there the quality of the contouring, modelling, or colouring leaves something to be desired. This or that artist seems now less sublime than earlier in his career. I would note, however, that two artists, namely Cornelius and Overbeck, remained in their later years as great as they promised to be 35 years ago. They never became different or less great. […] Indeed, more than painting, the art of architecture rose from a deep decline early in this century to significant heights. […] Thus, the hopes we had at the beginning of the nineteenth century were also fully realized in architecture. In this respect, our era has nothing to be ashamed of in comparison with previous eras.36

The title page of the second volume of The History of Modern German Art, published in 1838, featured images of Cornelius and Schadow, Schinkel and Thorvaldsen. According to Raczyński’s ‘balance sheet,’ two decades later the importance of these artists had not diminished (Fig. 99).

Figure 99
Figure 99

Wilhelm Kaulbach, Cornelius and Schadow, sketch for a section of the title page of volume two of Raczynski’s Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, pencil drawing, 1836

Raczyński Foundation at the National Museum in Poznań, inv. no. MNP FR 399

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the artistic accomplishments of the nineteenth century underwent a thorough re-evaluation in German art history.37 As Christian Scholl wrote, ‘In just a few decades, the importance of nineteenth-century art was radically re-evaluated, including practically everything that had been previously considered representative of the renewal of German painting. The verdict issued by the modernists challenged everything that up until then had been considered valuable. Not only art criticism but also art history underwent a re-evaluation. We can speak here of a shift in the canon.’38 The Nazarenes lost their prominent position; they were now marginalized. Their enterprise to revive religious art was dismissed as a dead-end. ‘Taking together, these criticisms sketch an image of Nazarene art as little more than historicist kitsch born of a nostalgic revival of moribund ideas,’ as Cordula Grewe summed up the views of the movement expressed by most twentieth-century scholarship.39 The new masters of Romantic painting were Caspar David Friedrich and Philipp Otto Runge. Other celebrated artists of the latter half of the nineteenth century were Arnold Böcklin, Adolph Menzel, and Max Liebermann. A major exhibition of nineteenth-century painting organized in Berlin in 1906, the so-called German centennial exhibition (Die deutsche Jahrhundertausstellung), was a testament to the new canon of nineteenth-century art: only seven paintings by Cornelius, twelve paintings by Overbeck, and one painting by Schadow were displayed. In turn, twelve paintings by Runge, thirty-eight paintings by Friedrich, and forty-six paintings by the symbolist Arnold Böcklin were shown.40

To a large extent, we continue to be influenced by the canon of nineteenth- century art established around 1900.41 We need to bear this in mind if we are to evaluate Raczyński’s endeavours as an art theoretician, art collector, and writer in their proper context. The last of these activities, Raczyński’s writings on art, will be analyzed in the following section.

3 Writings on Art

The English essayist, translator, critic, and art historian Elizabeth Rigby wrote in July 1845 in a letter to a friend in connection with her intended trip to Germany: ‘Also will you tell Mr. Grüner that I am exceedingly interested in Count Racynsky’s German Art & that it has greatly increased my desire to become acquainted both with the art & artists of the Düsseldorf school.’42 Rigby’s reaction seemed to best express the idea behind the publication of Raczyński’s History of Modern German Art. The monumental, exclusive, and laudatory monograph was meant to arouse curiosity about German art and promote it in Europe and worldwide. ‘When I published this work,’ Raczyński declared, ‘I had no other purpose than to draw the attention of other nations to German artists.’43

However, Elizabeth Rigby’s interest in German art did not bring the results that Raczyński had envisioned. Rigby’s trip to Germany, mentioned in the above-quoted letter, was a part of her research for an article. The essay entitled ‘Modern German Painting,’ published anonymously in the London Quarterly Review in 1846, may be read as an extensive, brilliant, and categorical polemic against The History of Modern German Art.44 While Raczyński saw in contemporary German painting the ultimate embodiment of an artistic ideal, Rigby saw in it, above all, a lack of originality, imitation, artificiality, excessive passion for detail, and pointless virtuosity. Rigby mainly criticized Düsseldorf painters but also their apologists, especially – and she often referred to him directly – Raczyński, whom she treated kindly but not without ironic indulgence. Athanasius, who read the French translation of the essay in Revue Britannique, wrote bitterly in his journal: ‘I am considered a fool and she ridicules my work.’45 Ultimately, as we will see, in her polemics, Rigby repeatedly touched a raw nerve with Raczyński.

Elizabeth Rigby’s critical response should not be treated as symptomatic or typical, but it does speak volumes about The History of Modern German Art and its reception, which oscillated between curiosity and consternation. Raczyński’s work aroused considerable interest in Europe, as evidenced by the reviews published in most German art magazines and literary supplements to the most important German newspapers,46 as well as by the reviews that appeared in French, English, and even American and Polish periodicals.47 The general public was interested in the book for two main reasons. First of all, it was a beautiful and lavishly edited work. Secondly, it was published at the best possible moment, when the growing reputation of German art in Europe was arousing people’s hunger for expert knowledge, and there were no other publications devoted to it on the market at the time. At the same time, as can be seen in Rigby’s essay and some reviews of The History of Modern German Art, many readers and critics were somewhat confused. By both its surprising form and its poetics, the book defied all contemporary labels associated with art criticism and art history. Before I explain the reasons for this state of affairs, I will describe the monograph in more detail.48

The History of Modern German Art was the first comprehensive attempt to systematically present German art in the first decades of the nineteenth century.49 It was published in three volumes, between 1836 and 1841, simultaneously in Paris in French and in Berlin in a German translation by Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen. The three large-format volumes contained almost 1800 pages in total. They were accompanied by a portfolio with an additional 38 engravings and an index of names published in a separate volume. The volumes were edited with great care. The intricate title pages, both in terms of design and iconography, were designed by outstanding German artists (Adolph Schroedter, Wilhelm Kaulbach, and Adolf Menzel, respectively)50 (Fig. 100, 101 and 102). The pages were elegant and easy to read: the font was large, the margins wide, and the text field was enclosed in a double frame (Fig. 103). Apart from the title pages and decorative vignettes, the volumes contained more than two hundred illustrations executed using different graphic techniques. Almost forty illustrations were full-page images. In the opinion of many contemporary readers, they were ‘more perfect than anything that has been published thus far.’51

The title of the book refers to contemporary German art, but it is devoted primarily to painting. Raczyński presents different schools of painting, arranged topographically, then subdivided into thematic and biographical themes.52 The first volume thus focuses on the Düsseldorf school, the second on the Munich school, and the third on the Berlin school. Each volume also contains information about artistic centres in other German cities, reports on the state of art in selected European countries (as points of comparison), and finally, adds other reflections of a historical or theoretical nature. For example, the first volume opens with Raczyński’s methodological creed, which I have already analyzed. This is followed by a synthesized presentation of the advancement of German art from the late eighteenth century to the present day; a history of changes in artistic tastes over the past three decades; a presentation of various trends and artistic personalities in the Düsseldorf school; information about the artistic circles in Cologne, Frankfurt, Darmstadt, and Mannheim; two supplements devoted to the education of painters; and finally, included as an annex, a description of Raczyński’s study trip to Paris in 1836. The second volume contains, among other things, a eulogy of one of the greatest patrons of the German arts, Ludwig I of Bavaria; extensive excerpts from old German literature; and an account of a trip to Italy. In the third volume, Raczyński discusses such topics as the influence of literature on German art, the role of artistic societies, and the arrangement of paintings in the Royal Museum in Berlin.

Figure 100
Figure 100

Adolph Schroedter, title page of volume one of Athanasius Raczyński’s Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, 1836

Figure 101
Figure 101

Wilhelm Kaulbach, title page of volume two of Athanasius Raczyński’s Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, 1838

Figure 102
Figure 102

Adolph Menzel, title page of volume three of Athanasius Raczyński’s Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, 1840

Figure 103
Figure 103

Page from volume one of Raczyński’s Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst showing a reproduction of Karl Ferdinand Sohn’s painting Two Leonores

Not all the texts were written by Raczyński. Certain essays were the work of other authors, some of whom remained anonymous. The authors who were named in the book were renowned German art scholars and artists: Franz Kugler, Carl Friedrich von Rumohr, Ernst Förster, Otto Friedrich Gruppe, and Wilhelm Schadow. Despite the fact that Raczyński did not write all of the texts, he must have exerted a great deal of energy to amass such an extensive body of information (taken from the existing literature on the subject, from art experts, and in many cases, from painters themselves) and coordinate the various activities associated with the publication. This included commissioning a number of German artists to draw reproductions of paintings. Most of the illustrations were later engraved in London and printed in Paris and Berlin. At each stage, Raczyński faced difficulties, delays, and controversies.53 Working on the book demanded time and resources, if only to make the necessary research trips to Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Raczyński proved to be a man full of passion and enthusiasm. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz thus commented on Raczyński’s research trip to Paris in April 1836: ‘Athanasius Raczyński […] came to Paris like hell and high lightning, he visited a museum, bought two paintings and was gone.’54 Although Niemcewicz was being ironic and did not like the Count, he nevertheless managed to capture Raczyński’s energy.

The results of Raczyński’s efforts were as spectacular as they were surprising. The shape of the work was determined to a large extent by the promotional aims of the book, as well as the methodological dilemmas associated with characterizing and analysing the contemporary art scene. One of the unique features of The History of Modern German Art is its predominantly laudatory tone. In the opinion of some contemporary and later readers, this was not only problematic but also unacceptable, as it demonstrated that Raczyński had no critical distance to the subject of his study and, by extension, did not possess the academic competence required to undertake such an endeavour.

I will illustrate this problem with one particularly instructive example, namely Raczyński’s description of the Düsseldorf school and the reactions of critics to this description. In his narrative, written in an enthusiastic tone, Raczyński praises the Düsseldorf school and its mentor Wilhelm Schadow.55 Raczyński describes Schadow as not only an outstanding artist but, above all, as a strong personality and a great and charismatic moral authority. He also claims the strong bond between the teacher and his students, as well as between the students themselves, is the distinguishing feature and most significant merit of the Düsseldorf school. ‘The master truly loves his students. He acknowledges their merits without feeling jealous. He praises them willingly and joyfully expresses the admiration that their works sometimes arouse in him. […] What the students feel for the teacher is reflected in the feelings the teacher has for his students.’ According to Raczyński, this relationship is grounded in the gratitude the students felt for Schadow and their unwavering trust in his authority and guidance. However, it is the relationships between the students, which are ‘brought to life by the master’s tender and noble heart,’ that are said to be the greatest merit of the Düsseldorf school. ‘This school is different from other schools because jealousy has been banished from it, and the vast majority [of students] have never known pride.’ Further on, Raczyński paints a truly idyllic picture of their academic practices: ‘All artists readily help one another and give advice. Whoever asks for advice receives an immediate, honest, willing, and understanding response. All these young people trust one another completely. Schadow promptly gives cordial and kind advice to anyone who asks for it and accepts advice from everyone whom he deems worthy of giving it.’ The young artists work together, and after work, they find pleasure and respite in their own circle, which includes their wives and families: ‘Friendly conversations, disputes, and discussions devoid of hatred and bitterness, walks in shady avenues or strolls among [their] vegetable patches, a pipe, a mug of beer, sour milk, bread and butter, bowling and races suffice to satisfy their simple tastes.’ They do not follow trends and do not desire luxuries. They live and work modestly, choosing art over material goods. Their talents and predilections may have differed, but they share a common artistic ideal. Hence, Raczyński writes, ‘when we see this academy as a whole, it immediately becomes clear that it constitutes a true school of painting more than any other artistic community.’

The sentimental image of the academy that Raczyński paints is, yes, charming but not entirely true. When it was formed, the Düsseldorf school was already torn by tensions, conflicts, and misunderstandings. As a result, in 1835, a group of artists led by Andreas Achenbach left the academy. Others soon followed, including Alfred Rethel, Phillipp Veit, Eduard Friedrich Bendemann, Johann Wilhelm Preyer, and Johann Peter Hasenclever. The Düsseldorf school consequently changed its artistic profile. Instead of sentimental and naturalistic historical and religious compositions, it became known for genre scenes and landscapes.56 Raczyński certainly knew about the controversy around the academy and the disputes that were tearing it apart, but he did not mention these tensions because he wished to present a specific vision of this artistic centre. He wanted to describe the creative spirit of comradeship and harmony, which he believed to be the driving force behind contemporary German painting. But he had other goals as well. By presenting the Düsseldorf school as a utopian artistic community, united around a master and unified by the professed ideals of brotherhood, selflessness, and mutual support, Raczyński clearly placed them in opposition to another artistic model that was popular in the first half of the nineteenth century, namely one of the outsider artist who lives outside the community, or even in defiance of the community, ignoring conventions and social norms. I agree with Elke von Radziewsky when she writes that Raczyński’s utopian vision of the Düsseldorf academy was to serve as an example for both artistic communities and social life in general: people should all lead a harmonious life under the guidance and authority of a sovereign master.57

Readers immediately recognized and sometimes criticized Raczyński’s ethical and idealistic intentions. As early as in 1839, the poet and art critic Friedrich von Uechtritz somewhat ironically compared Raczyński to a new Tacitus, who, by referring to the utopian vision of the Düsseldorf school, wanted to challenge the corrupt world with ‘the image of virtuous German barbarism.’58 Elizabeth Rigby was much more ruthless in her response to Raczyński’s idyllic vision. The English author criticized Athanasius’ argument in a humorous and mocking tone. Even more important, however, was the fact that she questioned the fundamental premises on which Athanasius’ book rested. She accepted Raczyński’s arguments only to draw conclusions which opposed those he had formulated:

Count Raczynski dwells with peculiar satisfaction upon the edifying spectacle of so many artists living together in peace and unity. In Dusseldorf, according to him, there is no envy, malice, or uncharitableness. From Schadow downwards to the lowest “second-class” the artists present one unbroken line of Christian excellence. Two painters share one atelier. Four or five work together on one picture (we should have thought at least five hundred). Their manners are patriarchal – their pleasures simple. After the labour of the day is over, a walk, a pipe, a glass of beer, is all their recreation. They sit conversing together ‘sans aigreur et sans envie’ [without bitterness or envy], their wives knitting by their sides […] Even […] if they had no other motives for becoming first-rate geniuses, the love with which Schadow has inspired them would be enough. ‘On peut être sur que, ne fut-ce que par affection pour leur maitre, tous feraient toujours de leur mieux’ [We can be sure that, if only out of affection for their master, everyone would always do their best]. How very amiable of them! And how very virtuous, too, of M. Raczyński! Upon us, we are ashamed to say, all this wonderful unanimity makes a less satisfactory impression. […] Even the sweet little picture of domestic happiness fails to touch us as it ought […] There is no exaggeration in all that M. Raczyński has said – four or five artists do work together on one picture like brethren, and nestle two together in one atelier like doves, and praise and admire indiscriminately all each other’s performances like so many Magazine poetasters. They would do anything also to oblige their director, and prepare him all sorts of little surprises for his jour de fête, or his Christmas tree. It is true, too, that they make most excellent husbands, and that their wives knit them the best possible stockings in return; but if the Dusseldorf style of picture be the especial result of all these Christian virtues operating in conjunction with the arts, we must say, give us a little vice! M. Raczyński calls this a ‘vie d’artistic.’ We see nothing in it that does not apply equally to a ‘vie d’artisan’ – honest, well-conducted artisans, who have each their set work, do not interfere with one another, and are sure of a good market – and that market the Art-Union. For it is on this line of patronage that Dusseldorf principally depends for existence.59

Rigby believed that the unity, unanimity, and perfect harmony among the painters of the Düsseldorf school that Raczyński praises so much was, in fact, problematic because great art is created amidst a spiritual frenzy, competition, and tension. In her opinion, Schadow’s strong will and the blind devotion of his students were not a source of inspiration but an instrument of enslavement and one of the main causes of the artistic mediocrity of the Düsseldorf school of painting. The perfect unity of artists did not stimulate but rather shackled the creative spirit.

Raczyński would have rejected such an interpretation, but he must have taken Rigby’s accusation of excessive idealism into consideration, especially since similar complaints were made by other readers, even those who were more sympathetic to his vision. One of the few Raczyński’s own comments on The History of Modern German Art had to do with this aspect of his writing. It was merely a coincidence that Raczyński formulated it in a letter to the painter, theoretician, and art historian, the leading figure in the artistic life of Victorian London, Charles Eastlake, who was a friend and later husband of Elizabeth Rigby.60

Not many letters exchanged between Athanasius and Eastlake have survived. Those remaining are mostly from the years 1838–1841 and concern The History of Modern German Art.61 In one letter, Raczyński asks Eastlake for expert advice on an article devoted to art in England. This initial request gave rise to a much broader general reflection on the book. The most interesting in this context is found in Raczyński’s letter of 19 August 1838, which constitutes only a small fragment of a more extensive discussion between the two gentlemen. Like many readers, Eastlake must have been struck by the peculiar and exalted tone of Raczyński’s book. When Eastlake asked Raczyński about it (the original letter from Eastlake had not survived), the Count replied as follows:

What you write about my enthusiasm is certainly true. I have always praised what I felt, and nobody knows whether I feel too much or too little – I know it the least. Is it possible to formulate positive judgments about works of art that would be true for all people and all times? How often have I changed my mind about the things I thought I liked! Judgments and reasoning are clothing in my book; facts, names, dates constitute the body. Do not trust my eulogies! Let everyone come, see, and judge for themselves! […] The index of names and illustrations will be the best part of my book.

Considering Raczyński’s other statements, it is somewhat surprising that he half opens the door here to aesthetic relativism. However, the last sentence, in which he reduces his work to an illustrated lexicon, is the most interesting. In some ways, Raczyński correctly predicted that The History of Modern German Art would indeed be recognized as such over the next few decades,62 even though he did not always provide actual ‘facts’ and the illustrations were not, strictly speaking, documentary in nature. These illustrations are worth looking at more closely.63

Illustrations play a very important role in Raczyński’s book. They do not simply illustrate the text. Rather, they add to the narrative and, in some cases, constitute narrative structures in themselves. In regards to the latter, Raczyński often selected a particular motif from a given painting to enhance his argument and present it as an autonomous work of art. Respectively, other times he freely combined motifs taken from different paintings within a single composition. For example, the illustration on page 78 in the first volume of The History of Modern German Art is a combination of motifs from paintings by Jean-Germain Drouais, Jacques-Louis David, and Pierre Narcisse Guérin. This image can be read as a summary of Raczyński’s critical views on French painting in the late eighteenth century64 (Fig. 104).

Figure 104
Figure 104

A combination of motives from paintings: J.L. David’s Oath of the Horatii, J.-G. Drouais’ Marius at Minturnae and P.N. Guérin’s Coriolan – drawing in volume one of Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst

All the illustrations, both faithful copies and ‘creative collages,’ are closely related to the text. This integration of image and text is visible at the editorial level. The illustrations are carefully placed on the page in relation to the text. They are put in precisely designated fields and appear exactly where the reader expects to find them. Today, such a layout does not seem original, but this manner of illustrating books on art was a novelty in the first half of the nineteenth century.65

Séroux d’Agincourt’s Histoire de l’Art par les Monuments is often considered a landmark illustrated work in the field of art history. The illustrative material was indeed used innovatively and intentionally in the book, but the illustrations were not integrated with the text.66 Heinrich Dilly, drawing on Paul Raabe, a great expert in the history of the book, claimed that Franz Kugler in his Small Writings and Studies (Kleine Schriften und Studien) and especially in the third edition of The Handbook of the History of Art (Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte) and The History of Architecture (Geschichte der Baukunst) was the first author in Germany to use illustrations in academic texts on art in a modern manner, with the pictures corresponding to the text.67 However, these books were published in 1853, 1857, and 1858 respectively – several years after the publication of Raczyński’s work. Sadly, both Paul Raabe and Heinrich Dilly ignored Raczyński’s book.68

Why was it ignored? Perhaps because The History of Modern German Art was not an academic text per se. As has already been mentioned, Raczyński’s classifications posed (and still pose) serious difficulties. A reviewer for the Parisian Journal des Débats perhaps most aptly described Raczyński as an amateur with a superior understanding of art of which he has constituted himself the historian and his patience and enlightened taste justify this title (Cet amateur entend supérieurement l’art don’t il se fait l’historien et il en est l’historien par tous les titres que donnent la patience et le gout éclairé des beaux-arts).69 Undoubtedly, in comparison with the most renowned of Berlin’s art historians from the first half of the nineteenth century, Raczyński was an ambitious dilettante. However, compared to the writings of other aristocratic amateur art scholars, his book must have seemed ambitious and exceptional.

Indeed, Raczyński soon formulated a (somewhat peculiar) response to professional, academic histories of art – in particular, the type represented by the Berlin school – in the form of a book entitled The Arts in Portugal.70

Published in 1846, Les arts en Portugal (The Arts in Portugal) is a singular book – quite archaic or modern, depending on one’s interpretation. Viewed as an edited collection of letters, excerpts, comments, and footnotes, it continues the tradition of early modern collections of letters published by scientific societies. However, in the mid-nineteenth century, it seemed eccentric and old-fashioned. Interpreted, however, as a loose and dynamic narrative that shows not so much ‘the truth’ about Portuguese art, as ‘the path to reaching the truth,’ it contains some features of, or at least it anticipates, the modernist narration.

The book consists of 29 letters, originally written to members of the Berlin Scientific Society of the Arts (Wissenschaftlicher Kunstverein) that seem to have been edited only slightly,71 and 49 sometimes very extensive annexes. The whole, composed of texts written by Raczyński, texts written by foreign authors, and excerpts from different sources with original comments, reads like a ‘mosaic.’ The narrative is dynamic, fragmented, and non-linear; there are many interruptions, relapses, repetitions, and contradictions. Raczyński comments on his own texts and argues with himself. Fabien Pillet, a literary columnist for the Parisian Le Moniteur universel, writes about the ‘irregular plan’ behind Raczyński’s work. This ‘irregularity,’ perhaps caused by haste, made the book very difficult to analyze: ‘This epistolary march, constantly interrupted by documents, lists, and sources, is unfortunately marked by certain flaws, for example, when the author repeatedly refers to imprecise facts in order to disprove or verify them. […] The composition is fragmented; one would wish for a less interrupted narrative.’72 At the same time, Pillet does not question the informational value of the book or the competence of the author, who he describes as a ‘true expert.’ In turn, Carl Justi, a renowned scholar of Spanish art who became interested in Portuguese painting forty years after Raczyński and relied on the Count’s book during his studies, thus reviewed it: ‘It is an archive, alas a disordered one. Notes, excerpts, journal pages, annotations, one after another. It seems as if there was no organizing principle and the author’s views were in a state of continuous evolution. It is thus a collection of materials put together for use in the author’s later studies. Though it is not without charm, vitality, directness, and a certain inconclusiveness that encourages one to study the matter at hand further.’73 The contemporary reader, probably even more than the nineteenth-century reader, will find the book challenging to read. It is tedious and often irritating and requires effort and determination to complete.

The principle governing the organization of the book, as Justi rightly recognized, is simple. It essentially follows a chronological principle, but one that has nothing to do with the chronology of Portuguese art. It instead reflects the timeline of Raczyński’s research on Portuguese art. Raczyński presents Portuguese art in the same order in which he learned about it. The Count explains several times in the book why he decided to adopt such an epistolary form: its greatest advantage is providing the author with more freedom, as if ‘more room for manoeuvre,’ in storytelling.74

Why did the book have such a structure? Why did Raczyński, a ‘true expert,’ not make his work more accessible to the reader? Why did he not organize the information better? Why did he not structure his argument? Why did he not make the narrative more coherent? If we take into account Raczyński’s character and the character of his other works, any accusation of incompetence, carelessness, or haste should be rejected outright. What then was the idea behind the unique structure of Les arts en Portugal?

Raczyński himself provides the first possible answer. He always envisioned his history of Portuguese art as a trilogy. Les arts en Portugal was the first volume. The second volume, a methodically compiled dictionary of Portuguese artists, was published in Paris in 1847 under the title Dictionnaire historico-artistique du Portugal.75 The third volume, in a sense the key book in the series, summarising and completing the series as a whole, was intended as a systematic illustrated history of Portuguese art. It was never published, however.76 Seen in relation to the others, each of these volumes would have played a different role. The first volume would present the source material and document the history of Raczyński’s studies in Portuguese art; it would mark the subsequent stages on his path to understanding it and, at the same time, introduce Raczyński’s research method. The second volume would organize the factual material according to a simple biographical scheme. And the third volume would offer a coherent history of art in Portugal.77 Together, they would provide the reader with, as Raczyński himself observed, ‘an almost complete picture of Portuguese arts of all times.’78

This explanation, however, is incomplete and needs to be expanded. The overall editorial and publication history of the book appears to be a crucial factor here. Indeed, if we compared it to The History of Modern German Art, we could say that The History of Modern German Art was intended for the general public and written by an enthusiast of contemporary art. Les arts en Portugal, by contrast, was addressed to a small group of art experts associated with progressive connoisseur and intellectual circles in Berlin and was written by a scholar of historical art.

Raczyński was first inspired to study Portuguese art, and probably also to write a book about it, in 1842 by a group of art experts associated with the Berlin Scientific Society of the Arts (Wissenschaftlicher Kunstverein).

In terms of its goals and operating principles, Wissenschaftlicher Kunstverein stood out among other German artistic societies. Established on 15 October 1827, it was an elite society whose members were artists and art experts, those – as the statute stated – who ‘deal with art scientifically or practically.’79 The most prominent Berlin intellectuals and artists belonged to the society, including university professors Alois Hirt, Heinrich Gustav Hotho, Ernst Heinrich Toelken, Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen, and Gustav Friedrich Waagen; the artists Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Christian Daniel Rauch, Gottfried Schadow, Franz Krüger, and Karl Wilhelm Wach; and high government officials, such as Johann Daniel Uhden and Johannes Schulze. Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt were honorary members.80 The society periodically held lectures and discussions on art, in accordance with the fifth article in the statute: ‘the society meets once a month, namely always on the first Monday of every month between 7 and 9 PM, for a working meeting during which lectures on philosophy or history of art shall be given; works of art and reviews of works of art shall be presented; writings on art shall be discussed, etc.; sketches, drawings, paintings, copperplates, lithographs, etc. by different artists shall be presented; and everything that may support art shall be discussed.’ As the short but precise articles in Kunstblatt, the society’s journal, inform us, discussions about art among experts indeed took place on the first Monday of every month. Raczyński regularly attended these meetings. In a letter to the painter Peter Cornelius from August 1842, he even allowed himself to make fun of them, writing about the ‘highly renowned, nicely decorated place’ where the meetings took place and the ‘delicious lunches and dinners’ that were served on these occasions.81

In the same letter, Raczyński first mentions his plans to study ‘early and modern Portuguese art’ with a view to presenting the results during the meetings of Wissenschaftlicher Kunstverein. After only ten or so months, Raczyński sent first reports on his artistic studies to Berlin.82

At the time when Raczyński first became interested in Portuguese art, studies on it were not very advanced. Indeed, a large number of errors, inaccuracies, simplifications, prejudices, and fantasies surrounded the subject. Very few books on the history of Portuguese art had been written until the mid-nineteenth century.83 These included James Murphy’s famous drawings of architecture;84 the lives of artists compiled by Taborda and Machado;85 monographs devoted to historical buildings, including the monasteries in Sintra, Batalha, and Belém;86 sketches on the history of painting by Almeida Garrett and Francisco de São Luís;87 and surveys of the history of Portuguese art by the directors of the art academies in Porto and Lisbon, João Baptista Ribeiro and Francisco de Sousa Loureiro. Hence, to quote José-Augusto França, one of the most renowned twentieth-century Portuguese art historians, Raczyński’s book was like a ‘bomb’ for the history of Portuguese art.88 According to França, Raczyński was indeed the father of professional art history in Portugal.89

Raczyński was the first to employ advanced analytical methods and tools to study Portuguese art, including developed research procedures and source criticism. He also initiated, or at least stimulated, discussion on problems that remain important for Portuguese art history even today, including the paintings of the so-called primitivists and their most illustrious representative, Vasco Fernandes. Lastly, he strongly emphasized the artistic merit and originality of early Portuguese art while recognizing its ties with European art.

During his research on Portuguese art, Raczyński employed scientific methods similar to the ones he used on The History of Modern German Art. He conducted extensive searches to collect historical material and gathered a group of efficient and competent collaborators. He visited the Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon, where, apart from works by professors and students, he also saw religious art from Portuguese monasteries that had recently been secularized (1820–1834). He also visited the palaces of aristocrats in Lisbon and Porto and saw their private collections. The Count also visited many churches during his research trips around the country.

Many eminent intellectuals assisted Raczyński in his research: the archaeologist and clergyman António de Castro e Sousa and the historiographer Alexandre Herculano; professors at the Academy of Fine Arts António Manuel da Fonseca, João José dos Santos, and Auguste Roquemont; local librarians, archivists, and scholars; foreign experts on Portuguese affairs and other researchers, including James Forrester, an English painter and art scholar who lived in Porto, Ferdinand Denis, who lived in Paris, and Konstantin Falkenstein, who lived in Dresden. They provided Raczyński with access to libraries and archives, shared their documents and knowledge with him, and prepared (in the case of foreign correspondents) excerpts from specialist foreign literature. For example, it was almost certainly de Castro who led Raczyński to visit the library of the Academy of Sciences in Lisbon and read the sixteenth-century treatise On Antique Painting by Francisco de Hollanda. Raczyński subsequently published the treatise in Les arts en Portugal and thus, albeit imperfectly, in fragments and in a poor translation by August Roquemont, introduced it into scholarly and academic discourse.90 Viscount Vasco Pinto Balsemão, the main curator of the Public Library in Lisbon during the first years of Athanasius’ stay in Portugal, and João António de Lemos Pereira de Lacerda, Viscount de Juromenha, played a special role among Raczyński’s associates, conducting detailed source and bibliographic research on the Count’s behalf. Sylvie Deswarte-Rosa has argued that the participation of these scholars was so extensive that Les arts en Portugal should be considered a collective work.91

Raczyński was able to find collaborators due to his position as a prominent member of high society in the capital city and, more importantly, a recognized collector and art expert. In a speech given in December 1843 to honour an exhibition of works by professors and students at the Lisbon Academy of Fine Arts, the director of the Academy, Francisco de Sousa Loureiro, discussed the current artistic situation in various European countries. He particularly focused on German art and based this part of his speech on Raczyński’s History of Modern German Art. At the same time, he complimented Raczyński, who was present in the hall among other prominent people who played an active role in the city’s cultural life, including King Ferdinand II.92 Indeed, Raczyński’s studies on Portuguese art met with widespread interest. Periodico dos Pobres in Porto and the popular Diario di Governo in Lisbon published detailed accounts of the Count’s study stay in the north of the country in the autumn of 1844.93

Les arts en Portugal touches upon many subjects, and I will address only one here in more detail.94 This is a subject that had special meaning for Raczyński, one he treated as his most significant discovery and described triumphantly in letters to his brother and friends. This subject was the legendary painter of the early modern period known as the Great Vasco (Grão-Vasco, Gran Vasco). According to a tradition dating back to at least the mid-eighteenth century, he was supposedly the author of a large number of paintings – the list of works traditionally attributed to Vasco, published by Raczyński, includes over two hundred items – and the proper founder of the school of early Portuguese painting. An analysis of how Raczyński approached the ‘case of Gran Vasco’ demonstrates his research skills and allows us to examine once again the peculiar structure of Les arts en Portugal.

‘It is no easy matter to wade through the voluminous and perplexing mass of memoranda relating to Gran Vasco and his reputed works, collected by Raczyński,’ wrote John Charles Robinson, curator of the South Kensington Museum in London, who began his study of the works of the Portuguese painter twenty years after Athanasius and attempted to correct the findings of the Polish aristocrat.95 Robinson was right. Raczyński devoted six letters in Les arts en Portugal (letters seven, eight, nine, twelve, sixteen, and seventeen) and two extensive entries in Dictionnaire historico-artistique, a total of 101 pages to the subject of Gran Vasco. Of these, over half consist of copies of source materials, quotations, and third-party accounts only interspersed either in the main body of the text or in footnotes with Athanasius’ comments. In the first two letters, Raczyński provides a systematic overview of paintings traditionally associated with Gran Vasco. He also compiles a list of sources and presents the current state of research on the Portuguese artist and his oeuvre. All the chapters in Les arts en Portugal follow a similar pattern – historical material is repeatedly compared with source materials, while formal analysis of works is conducted concurrently with a critical analysis of textual sources. Raczyński’s use of such a methodology was undoubtedly inspired by the work of his German colleagues, especially professional art historians of the ‘Berlin School,’ such as Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Carl Friedrich von Rumohr. For these scholars, careful historical and critical reflection was crucial. Raczyński seems to have found Rumohr’s Italian Studies (Italienische Forschungen), published in three volumes in 1827–1831, particularly inspiring. The respective chapters in Italian Studies are supplemented by annexes listing sources, and the entire book is structured in accordance with the notion that every statement about art should be supported by either a formal analogy or a source document.

Having conducted a preliminary, brief analysis of paintings allegedly painted by Gran Vasco, Raczyński was convinced that not all of them were painted by the same person. Comparative stylistic analysis and expertise – a comparison of the representation of robes, physiognomic types, colours, etc. – allowed Raczyński to divide the paintings into eleven groups. Each group was associated with a different painter or painters. While remaining careful in formulating any categorical conclusions (‘we still have a long way to go in our research’), Raczyński stated that many native and foreign artists, and not just one extraordinarily prolific Gran Vasco, were busy at work in early sixteenth-century Portugal.

In subsequent parts of the book, we may find extensive excerpts from various sources and contemporary critical studies devoted to the legend of Gran Vasco. These are arranged in an order that is difficult to understand. Raczyński suggests to the impatient reader who would prefer to navigate his work with more ease that they should skip this entire passage and go straight to letter ten. Raczyński does not immediately provide a clearer and more orderly commentary because he wants, first, to show the chaos of opinions surrounding Gran Vasco and, secondly, to illustrate his research method – ‘in good faith, I want you to accompany me during my research.’96

An extensive account by Father José de Oliveira Berardo, an amateur historian from the mountain town of Viseu in northern Portugal, is particularly important among the collected source material. It was sent to Raczyński by Viscount de Juromenha97 and led Raczyński to study the paintings in the cathedral in Viseu. From that moment on, Raczyński was convinced that these works were the key to the painter’s secret: ‘There is nothing else for us to do but study the paintings attributed to Gran Vasco found in Viseu, and from their analysis, naturally draw valid conclusions.’98 Though Raczyński notes in letter eight that ‘this is not yet the place to draw conclusions,’ he goes on to conclude that Great Vasco was actually Vasco Fernandez do Cazal, who was born in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century in Viseu. Athanasius stands by this hypothesis until 30 May 1844, or – to follow the logic of the book – until letter twelve. In this letter, Raczyński reveals the information communicated to him by Fr. Berardo himself that the baptismal certificate of Vasco Fernandes, dated 1552, identifying him and not Fernandez do Cazal as Gran Vasco, was to be found in the archives of the church in Viseu. This was indeed a breakthrough as it meant that all the paintings created before 1570 should be attributed to other, older painters. There could thus not have been a ‘school of Vasco’ at that time, and it was more likely that ‘a great number of meritorious artists lived in Portugal in the sixteenth century.’99 Raczyński now needed to confront the knowledge he had gained from his sources with the actual paintings and, based on this analysis, make an assessment of Vasco’s ‘output as a painter, his style, and his works.’100

Raczyński arrived in Viseu on 28 July 1844. He described his stay in the city in letter sixteen, which he begins by stating: ‘I retract everything I have cited above concerning Gran Vasco and anything that contradicts what you will read [below].’101 The remarks that followed were based on two premises: (i) Vasco Fernandes, i.e. Great Vasco, was born in 1552, and (ii) the Crucifixion in the cathedral of Viseu was undisputedly painted by him. Raczyński identified the artist’s oeuvre and formulated conclusions regarding his style, artistic development, etc. on the basis of these two premises. I will not quote Raczyński’s findings here. Suffice it to say that letter eighteen ends with the words: ‘For me, the question of [Vasco] has been settled.’102

In fact, it had not. Even Raczyński had some doubts because the premises on which he based his investigation were open to question. Although it seemed to Athanasius that the Crucifixion was painted before 1570, he later confessed that ‘in the end, the documents have more authority than my impressions.’103 I read these words as a declaration of Raczyński’s scientific ambitions, expressed here almost in defiance of his temperament as an art lover. However, Raczyński should have trusted his eye and intuition: the painting was indeed made before 1570, while the date on the baptismal certificate, as it turned out fifty years later, had been misread by Fr. Berardo.

The incorrect dating of Vasco Fernandes’ paintings was not, of course, the only mistake that Raczyński made. Nonetheless, this does not change the fact that his research on Portuguese painting and Portuguese art in general was ground-breaking and continued to inspire other scholars for over half a century. As Justi later wrote, ‘a book written by a Polish Count taught us that there was a Portuguese school of painting.’104 Numerous Portuguese and foreign art lovers and art experts, including José de Oliveira Berardo, Cristino da Silva, Téofilo Braga, Augusto Felipe Simões, Henrique das Neves, Joaquim de Vasconcellos, J.C. Robinson, Carl Justi, and others, all studied the case of Vasco. It was not until the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that Maximiliano Aragão corrected many of these inaccuracies and errors, writing the first reliable monograph on the artist.105

The case of Gran Vasco perfectly demonstrates how Raczyński structured Les arts en Portugal and reveals his motivations. Raczyński wished to show the winding and difficult path of every scholar of early art towards – and Raczyński would not hesitate to use this term – historical truth. Accompanying the author on this journey, one not lacking a somewhat perverse intellectual pleasure, is, as Justi rightly remarks, a difficult but essential exercise of the virtue of patience.

4 Raczyński’s Friend Wilhelm Kaulbach

Two drawings will act as an introduction.

Drawing one. Raczyński is sitting on a chair in a very relaxed pose, with his right leg forward. Underneath his unbuttoned coat, we can see elegant and fashionable clothing (Fig. 105). His extended right hand rests on an (invisible) pedestal, while the bent left arm rests on the arm of a chair. The left hand is ‘melancholically’ supporting his head, which is tilted slightly to one side. His eyes, gentle yet focused, are also sombre. The Count is looking straight ahead. What is he looking at? The drawing was made in 1835 in the studio of the Munich painter Wilhelm Kaulbach. Raczyński visited Kaulbach because he had heard about his famous sketch for the painting The Battle of the Huns – a dynamic and dramatic representation of a battle fought in 451 between the Hun army, led by Attila, and allied Roman and Gothic forces, led by Flavius Aetius. Described by the ancient writer Damascius and the Byzantine scholar Photius, the battle was seen as a legendary ‘battle of ghosts.’ Raczyński is gazing at Kaulbach’s work with a pensive, focused look of adoration.

Figure 105
Figure 105

Wilhelm Kaulbach, Portrait of Athanasius Raczyński, pencil drawing, 1835

Raczyński Foundation at the National Museum in Poznań, inv. no. MNP FR 397

Drawing two. A sympathetic caricature sent by Kaulbach in a letter to his wife in August 1858 (Fig. 106). Raczyński, looking monumental and stout, and dressed in a luxurious and eccentric outfit, with a large cap on his head, is extending his arms and welcoming the artist to his home (more precisely, to his kitchen; in the background, we can see a cauldron over an open fire and chunks of meat and fish hanging above). The artist is thin, dressed in a simple coat, with a bag across his back and a cane in his hand. He is making the same gesture as if he wanted to throw himself into the arms of his host. Two burning hearts surrounded and united with a wreath of flowers can be seen between the two figures: we are witnessing the meeting of two close friends from different social classes.

Figure 106
Figure 106

Wilhelm Kaulbach, Athanasius Raczyński Greets the Painter Wilhelm Kaulbach in his Home, caricature in a letter from Kaulbach to his wife Josephine from August 1846, in: Josefa Dürck-Kaulbach, Erinnerungen an Wilhelm von Kaulbach und sein Haus, 1921

In the second drawing, which was made almost 25 years after the first, Kaulbach shows a different side of Raczyński as a man of the arts. In drawing one, the Count is an art lover. He is watching the painter at work with keen interest and delight. In drawing two, he is the powerful protector and patron of the artist, graciously extending his protection. In drawing one, Raczyński is in thrall to Kaulbach’s artistic vision, while in drawing two, he is the active party – he is the driving force in the scene. These two drawings show the two faces of Raczyński as a man of the arts. The Count was both a humble lover of talented artists and a demanding client, at once an attentive observer of contemporary artistic life and a patron of the arts. In this section, I will discuss Raczyński’s place in the world of art, both among artists themselves and among devotees and connoisseurs of art.

The fact that these two drawings were produced by Wilhelm Kaulbach gives credence to their characterization of Raczyński. The artist and the collector shared a deep and long-lasting bond of friendship. This relationship should be discussed in more detail because it demonstrates how the Count treated artists in general and how he perceived his role as an art lover, patron, and collector.106

Raczyński, who first saw Kaulbach’s works in 1828, first met him in person in late spring 1835 (Fig. 107). The meeting took place in connection with plans to paint The Battle of the Huns in a monumental format (Fig. 108). Josepha Dürck-Kaulbach, the painter’s daughter, thus described the meeting:

A friend [the renowned architect Leo von Klenze] brought Kaulbach the works of Chateaubriand relating to the Battle of the Huns. He engaged this topic with enthusiasm; he read and studied for nights on end and made a small sketch that delighted his friends. However, he often complained that he would be unable to produce this painting, which had aroused such great expectations, in such a larger format! One Sunday, we were sitting together, and he was complaining the usual way, when a carriage drove up to the house, and the coachman enquired if the painter Kaulbach lived there. I opened the window and answered that this was indeed true, and soon a man was standing before us – he introduced himself as Count Raczyński and wished to be shown the painting. He stood before it for a long time, said it was wonderful, and commissioned it in a large format for the price of four thousand guilders. How happy we were! Raczyński arranged for Kaulbach to be given an atelier by King Ludwig I. We were very happy and very grateful. […] Count Raczyński visited us every year; he dined with us and gave me valuable cooking tips. When the cartoon [Karton] was ready and exhibited in the Count’s gallery in Berlin, King Frederick William IV liked it so much that Kaulbach later received numerous commissions from him. But we have never forgotten that Sunday when the Count shouted from the street “Does the painter Kaulbach live here?” Kaulbach has always remembered that Sunday, grateful for “his lucky day.”107

Figure 107
Figure 107

Carl Adolph Hennig, Portrait of Wilhelm Kaulbach (from Athanasius Raczyński’s collection), 1847

Raczyński Foundation at the National Museum in Poznań, inv. no. MNP FR 523
Figure 108
Figure 108

Wilhelm Kaulbach, The Battle of the Huns, 1835–1837

Raczyński Foundation at the National Museum in Poznań, inv. no. MNP FR 535

This account – an anecdote worthy of attribution to any most excellent painter, sculptor, or architect – is nevertheless credible. Kaulbach indeed adopted behaviour which he believed characteristic of a brilliant artist. This was not an attempt to exalt himself; on the contrary, it was in keeping with his natural disposition. There is in his biography a trace of poverty at the start of his career then the discovery, as we have seen, of his talent by a powerful patron and conflicts with the leading lights of the local art scene and the lack of understanding shown him by philistine academics and a tendency towards melancholy. In her memoirs, Josepha explains her father’s behaviour in a warm and slightly ironic tone that was typical of her, claiming that ‘[father] fully exploited the artist’s right to be moody and unpredictable.’108 Raczyński repeatedly experienced the consequences of the painter’s chimerical character.

In the second volume of The History of German Art, Raczyński thus recounted the story behind The Battle of the Huns:

Kaulbach addressed this subject using different shades of brown, in a large oil painting, twenty-one feet long and seventeen feet high, so that the figures in the foreground were represented in their natural size. The painting is beyond excellent and seems to me the most sublime and the most perfect work of art ever created. It was to be painted in colour. A colour sketch has already been made, but the person commissioning the work was too impatient and did not give the painter enough time to finish it. In spite of these circumstances, Kaulbach expressed his goodwill, nobility, generosity, and modesty. His behaviour was touching and commendable.109

This is what could be called the ‘official version’ of events. Although the account seems to be based on fact, it nonetheless contains gaps, as Raczyński chose strategically to omit certain facts. For one, he does not mention that he commissioned the painting – he was the impatient ‘ordering party’ who did not give the artist enough time to complete the work. What is even more interesting, however, is that he did not explain why he was so impatient. The explanation can be found in letters exchanged between the Count, the painter, and other people from his circle.110 In them, Athanasius accuses the artist of delays, failure to respond to his letters, dishonesty, capriciousness, and unreliability. He alternatively threatens and begs the artist to finish the painting. Kaulbach, in turn, makes excuses, explains, and apologizes, but also rebuts these charges and levels accusations of his own against the Count. In the end, Raczyński, having lost both his patience and faith that the commissioned work would be completed in the foreseeable future, decided in consultation with the painter to accept the unfinished painting in its current state (a monochromatic underpainting) in the summer of 1837.111

Though difficult, the relationship between Kaulbach and Raczyński, between a painter and his employer, was based on a deep mutual understanding. Both parties clearly understood their rights and obligations. The relationship was also based on unwavering beliefs. Raczyński never had any doubts that the painter was very talented and considered him ‘the greatest genius of our age and one of the greatest ever.’112 At the same time, Kaulbach never forgot the role the Count played in his career. In short, it was a relationship between an artist and his patron. ‘Very quickly,’ wrote a biographer of the painter Hans Müller in the nineteenth century, ‘a truly friendly relationship developed between Raczyński and Kaulbach, based on fondness, gratitude, and understanding.’113 An excellent illustration of this relationship and, at the same time, of the conventions that governed it is a remark Kaulbach once made about Raczyński. Adelheid Carolath-Beuthen, a correspondent of the Count living in Munich, reported this in a letter to Raczyński: ‘I could not be happier,’ the artist supposedly said, ‘if my father had visited me instead. He [Raczyński] is my father in a spiritual relationship [mein Vater in geistiger Beziehung]. I owe him everything, all my present life, especially the fact that I was able to escape poverty at a time when it seemed quite imminent.’114

Kaulbach had indeed much to be thankful for. Raczyński not only commissioned the ground-breaking Battle of the Huns for a very lucrative sum115 but also paid for the artist’s first studio in Munich, which, though damp, uncomfortable, and shared with the sculptor Johannes Leeb, enabled Kaulbach to continue to work. The studio even became an important centre of artistic life in Munich. Raczyński also paid for Kaulbach’s trip to Italy in 1835, during which the artist honed his skills, studied the local art, and mastered the technique of fresco painting.116 This trip was crucial in Kaulbach’s artistic development. Raczyński also popularized and promoted Kaulbach’s work in Berlin and, thanks to the publication of The History of Modern German Art, the second volume of which was dedicated to Kaulbach, throughout Europe as well.117 Moreover, Raczyński contacted potential buyers and collectors, urging them to commission new works from the painter.118 Finally, the Count helped the painter obtain and execute a very prestigious commission to paint frescos on the walls of the staircase of the Royal New Museum (Neues Museum) in Berlin. For almost twenty years, this commission had a major impact on the painter’s life. I will discuss the story behind this in more detail below.

When the Royal Museum of Art (Königliches Museum) first opened in 1830 in a building erected by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, it was already clear that there was no room to display all the noteworthy works from the royal collection, and that additional exhibition space would be needed. When Frederick William IV, who had a strong interest in art, was crowned in 1840, he immediately addressed this issue. On 31 June 1841, work began on a new museum building located next to the Museum designed by Schinkel. The decision to decorate the interior of the building with monumental frescoes depicting scenes from world history was made early on. On 15 May 1843, a final contract for executing the frescos was signed with Kaulbach.119 Under the terms of the agreement, the painter had ten years (1846–1856) to execute six large-format frescoes that were to depict: The Tower of Babel, Homer and the Greeks, The Destruction of Jerusalem, The Battle of the Huns (after the painting from Raczyński’s collection), The Crusaders at the Gates of Jerusalem and one more scene, which was to act as a summing up and conclusion of the entire cycle (the theme was to be chosen later). Kaulbach was to start working immediately on sketches and cartoons. He was to receive a payment of 120,000 thalers.

Since the nineteenth century, all scholars who have written about this commission have emphasized that Athanasius Raczyński played a substantial role throughout the process. There is no doubt that The Battle of the Huns, which had been on display in the Count’s gallery since 1837, made the Munich painter a household name in the Prussian capital. When the Crown Prince, the future Frederick William IV saw the painting in Raczyński’s gallery, it ‘inspired him to entrust the creator of this work with the said monumental commission.’120 Raczyński, as letters show, continued to encourage the monarch in his decision.121 He also tried to help Kaulbach throughout the years when the artist was painting the frescoes. Yet, rather than taking ten years, the work continued for nineteen years and was not completed until 1866. During those nineteen years, Kaulbach travelled to Berlin from Munich almost every year in the summer to work on the frescoes, first together with his colleagues and later alone. He usually stayed at Raczyński’s palace and discussed his ideas with the Count. When a years-long conflict arose between Kaulbach and Ignaz von Olfers, director general of the Royal Museums, who was supervising the works on behalf of the monarch, Raczyński continued to support the painter. This conflict concerned the last painting, the theme of which was not specified in the contract. Kaulbach wanted to paint The Age of the Reformation, but Olfers refused and suggested a different topic. It was not until 1863 that the painter managed to resolve this conflict and paint the theme of his choice. As he wrote in a letter to his wife, ‘all friends of the arts’ admired the painting – ‘even the very Catholic aristocrat Raczyński, who usually harshly criticizes works and artists of the middle class – even he expressed his deep admiration.’122

Nevertheless, Raczyński failed in his efforts to arrange an appointment to a Chair for Kaulbach at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts123 or to have him named head of an academy of arts in some other Prussian city.124

We could say that Kaulbach ‘thanked’ his patron by depicting him in one of the monumental frescoes that decorated the facade of the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. Kaulbach received this commission from King Ludwig I. Raczyński was portrayed in it as an art expert and an art lover: somewhat apart, he is sitting at a small table with the second volume of his work on German art and looking down from the upper left corner of the painting at the work of painters specializing in religious, historical, landscape, and genre scenes (Fig. 109). The entire series of frescoes, including the one featuring Raczyński, has ironic and critical undertones, which makes Raczyński’s presence somewhat ambiguous.125 It thus accurately reflects the nature of the relationship between the painter and the patron, which was also based on a subtle game with social and society conventions.

Figure 109
Figure 109

Wilhelm Kaulbach, Artists Appointed by King Ludwig I to Realise his Ideas in the Field of Historical, Battle-scene, Landscape and Genre Painting, sketch for a fresco to be placed on the facade of the Pinacotheca in Munich, c.1849

bpk-Bildagentur / Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen – Neue Pinakothek, Munich, WAF 410

Raczyński’s relationship with Kaulbach was intense and thus special, but the Count’s genuine concern for the advancement of contemporary German painting and for his public image as a patron of the arts and artists motivated him throughout his life. One example can be provided here.

In the spring of 1842, during a diplomatic journey to Lisbon, Raczyński spent four weeks in London. Apart from political concerns, artistic matters were an additional motive for the trip. Like many people associated with artistic life in Germany, he had hopes that German painters would receive one of the most prestigious artistic commissions of the time, namely decorating the new seat of the British Parliament.126 The Old Westminster Palace had burned down in 1834, and in 1840 work began on a new building designed by Sir Charles Barry. It was to be decorated with sculptures and paintings, and a Fine Arts Commission had been appointed to oversee the project.127 German artistic circles were hopeful and excited because it was believed that European recognition of Germany’s fresco painters and the support of Queen Victoria’s husband, young Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who was himself an art lover and chairman of the Fine Arts Commission, would open the way for German artists.

As we have seen, Raczyński had been corresponding with Sir Charles Eastlake, who later became secretary of the Commission. The Count soon also came into contact with Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, an influential politician, well-known art lover, and an outstanding collector who later also sat on the Commission. The Count sent copies of The History of Modern German Art to both his English friends, hoping they would entrust German painters with the project in the British parliament.128 During his stay in London, Raczyński met Lansdowne and Eastlake as well as other committee members, including Prince Albert, Francis Egerton, Count Ellesmere, Sir Robert Peel, and Sir Robert Inglis. He tried to persuade them to employ German artists. We do not know the details of Raczyński’s negotiations; however, we can deduce from a letter to Peter Cornelius that they did not go well.129 Soon, politics rather than questions of an artistic nature began to intrude, and German painters were never asked to decorate the House of Parliament. The history of the project is less important here than Raczyński’s long-term, consistent, determined, and coordinated efforts to advance and promote contemporary German art.

Read in such a context, positive opinions about the Count as a ‘patron of the new times’130 and a man endowed with a ‘patron’s intuitions’131 were much more than mere conventional politeness. The remarks of Peter Cornelius made in his letter to Raczyński were also not mere courtesy: ‘You showed contemporary nobility how to be noble.’132 Raczyński thought exactly in these categories: he was fully aware that the duties of a patron of the arts were not always easy; being a patron was both a source of personal satisfaction and the responsibility of an aristocrat.133

Indeed, it comes as no surprise that Raczyński made King Ludwig I of Bavaria one of the main ‘protagonists’ of the second volume of The History of Modern German Art. The monarch was both an art lover and a resolute, determined, and committed patron. He initiated large-scale construction and decorative projects, including the reconstruction of the royal residence, as well as the erection of a number of monumental buildings, the royal library, the royal church, the Church of St. Ludwig and the Church of St. Boniface. He was a major art collector, too. His collections were later exhibited in museums that were open to the public (the Glyptothek, the Alte Pinakothek, and the Neue Pinakothek). The patronage of King Ludwig I effectively changed the architectural and artistic face of Munich and Bavaria.134 Contemporary critics actively discussed these new initiatives and expressed varying opinions, ranging from the commendatory to the increasingly negative.135 According to Raczyński, ‘King Ludwig [was] the soul of the artistic movement in Germany’ and thus he embodied the ideal and the topos of the king who was also a patron of the arts.136 It should be added that Ludwig had been consciously building such an image since his early youth.137 Raczyński also wished for such recognition, bearing in mind, of course, that he was an aristocrat and not a king. When we compare the two art lovers and patrons, we can see, toutes proportions gardées, many striking similarities. Both King Ludwig I and Raczyński maintained close personal contacts with artists, paid visits to artists’ studios, supported the artistic travels of young artists (in addition to the aforementioned financial help offered to Kaulbach, Raczyński organized and financed a study trip of Portuguese painters to Germany), commissioned works of art (specifying the conditions for their execution), and created collections that were open to the general public. Apart from opening collections to the public, all of these activities were the traditional and long-honoured tasks of a patron of the arts, some dating back to ancient times. In the nineteenth century, however, new collective and civic forms and institutions for supporting the arts were established. The most important were artistic societies, called Kunstvereine in Germany, and public art exhibitions. Both Raczyński and King Ludwig I played an active role in these institutions.138 I will briefly discuss this issue below.

‘We live in a time when widespread interest in art manifests itself with the greatest liveliness. It is so popular that it brings to mind the happiest times in the history of artistic creativity and demands immediate recognition. The most outstanding advocates and authorities of this widespread interest are the artistic societies that have been established in recent times.’ This diagnosis, formulated by an anonymous author in an article published in 1836 in the magazine Museum, was not an exaggeration. The first Kunstverein was established at the end of the 18th century. During the 1820s, Kunstvereine became one of the most important art institutions in Germany.139 They grew out of and drew strength from an unwavering belief in the greatness of German art, which, it was believed, needed support and popularization in order to truly flourish. This was the main (most general and most important) goal of these societies – though they also had other specific goals. As stated in the first paragraph of the statute of the Berlin Kunstverein, the society was ‘to facilitate the creation of significant works of art and to popularize them.’140 The second most important goal of these societies was to improve the artistic tastes of the general public. Their numbers indicate that people were indeed enthusiastic about these goals. Raczyński, who in the third volume of The History of Modern German Art devoted a separate chapter to the German Kunstvereine, estimates, quite reliably, that around 1838 they had almost 30,000 members. The societies in Berlin and Munich had slightly over 2,000 members each, while the Kunstverein in Düsseldorf (which had a population of 30,000 at the time!) had around 3,000 members. The society in Vienna had a record 4,300 members.141 Most Kunstvereine were established in the form of joint-stock societies, which meant they were financed by shares paid by members. Kunstvereine mainly organized temporary or permanent exhibitions, commissioned new works, and acquired paintings that were then distributed among members-shareholders by a lottery.

Raczyński was a member of three of the above-mentioned Kunstvereine: the Berlin Society of Friends of the Art in the Prussian State (Verein der Kunstfreunde im Preussischen Staate), founded by Wilhelm von Humboldt with a group of local artists in 1825 (Raczyński was a member since 1825);142 the Art Society for Rhineland and Westphalia (Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen), founded by Wilhelm Schadow in 1829; and the Munich Art Society (Münchener Kunstverein), founded in 1823. In 1837, as we already know, Raczyński was also admitted to the elite Berlin Scientific Society of the Arts (Wissenschaftlicher Kunstverein). Admission to the Berlin Scientific Society, as well as other distinctions which Raczyński received in the latter half of the 1830s in Germany and abroad were a testament to his high position in the artistic world in both Germany and Europe. These distinctions included being named: honorary member of the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin (1836);143 honorary member of the Kurland Society of Literature and Arts in Mitau (Kurländische Gesellschaft für Literatur und Kunst, 1837);144 foreign correspondent of the Historical Committee for the Arts and Monuments in Paris (Comité historique des arts et monuments, 1837);145 honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts (Academia de Belas Artes) in Lisbon (1843); and, finally, member of the so-called Advisory Commission to the Royal Museums in Berlin (1859).146 Of course, this all began with Raczyński opening his gallery of paintings to the public and publishing the first volume of his spectacular History of Modern German Art. This recognition in the artistic world, in turn, gave Raczyński the legitimicy to speak publicly on matters of importance to German artistic life. He exercised this right (among other times) in 1841, when he formulated his postulates regarding the reorganization of exhibitions organized by the Prussian Royal Academy of Arts.

The exhibitions organized by the Academy were the most important exhibitions of contemporary art in Berlin and played an important role in German and European artistic life in general. They had been organized since 1786, usually every two years. For a short period, at the turn of the 1830s and 1840s, they were held annually. Raczyński’s involvement in the exhibitions was twofold. First of all, he visited them regularly. While, unlike many other art collectors, such as Joachim Heinrich Wagener, the Count did not buy the paintings that were on display (he preferred to commission pictures directly from artists), he visited exhibitions to learn more about contemporary art and find artists and works that were of interest to him. He was also the owner of the exhibited paintings – he lent pictures of his own accord or at the artists’ request.

He acted ‘out of character’ only once when he publicly criticized the organization of the exhibitions. The exhibition in 1840 made such a very unfavourable impression on him. Moreover, he noticed that the number of visitors had been declining drastically in recent years. Moved by these facts, he presented, at a meeting of the Scientific Society of the Art in February 1841, a paper in which he attempted to diagnose the causes of the crisis and propose countermeasures. A few weeks later, the speech was published in the journal Allgemeines Organ für die Interessen des Kunst- und Landkartenhandels with a favourable commentary from the editor.147 Although Allgemeines Organ was a new magazine – it had only begun appearing regularly from 1 January 1841 – Raczyński’s views aroused great interest. The more readable specialist Kunstblatt148 made a reference to them while a more extensive discussion of them appeared in the popular Preussische Staatszeitung.149

The main reason for the declining interest in exhibitions organized by the Academy was obvious to Raczyński: there were no good paintings on display, and mediocre works were dominant. The reason for this, in turn, was poor organization. According to Raczyński, exhibitions were held too often, the committee too often selected works based on personal connections rather than merit, and, finally, there were too few works from other centres and foreign artists. Thus, lacking healthy competition and a fresh impetus, the local artistic community fell into complacency and stagnation. As a remedy for the crisis, the Count first suggested amending the rules governing the proceedings of the selection committee and the appointment of new members who were to be art lovers and art experts rather than artists. The decision to exhibit a given work was to be made in a secret ballot. Raczyński further postulated that exhibitions should be carefully arranged so that pictures representing different genres had their separate place because, in his opinion, studying historical paintings among genre and landscape paintings ‘was annoying.’ Finally, the Count postulated that more foreign works by French, English and Belgian artists and artists from the Düsseldorf school should be displayed. They should be admitted automatically: foreign works should be accepted out of courtesy, and the works of the Düsseldorf school should be accepted because the director of the local academy, Wilhelm Schadow, would never send ‘unworthy’ paintings to Berlin. Thus, although expressed in a calm and polite tone, Raczyński’s opinions were categorical and critical. The unfavourable opinion of Raczyński and others had some effect, as in the following years, the Academy did indeed become more open to foreign works.

Yet, in order to fully understand Raczyński’s criticism, it needs to be read in a broader context. It should be treated as a voice in an ongoing (since the 1840s) discussion on the Royal Academy of Arts and the deep crisis faced by this institution. Franz Theodor Kugler, an outstanding art critic and historian and, since 1843, head of the Department of Arts at the Ministry of Religious, Educationial, and Medical Affairs (Ministerium der geistlichen, Unterrichts- und Medizinalangelegenheiten), as well as the most important and ardent advocate for changes at the Academy, declared at the academic Senate in 1842: ‘Relations […] are so confusing, the entire current state of the Academy is so unstable that anyone who is even slightly familiar with the status quo must wonder why the Academy still exists. Thorough reforms are most urgently needed.’150 However, since the head of the Academy, Johann Gottfried Schadow, who was over eighty years old at the time, objected, the monarch opposed Kugler’s plans to reform the Academy. Internal attempts at reform by artists who opposed the Academy authorities also failed. Raczyński followed these disputes carefully and with distaste, subjecting the Academy to severe criticism in his journals and letters. In a letter to Wilhelm Kaulbach, he wrote: ‘I consider the local Academy to be terminally ill. […] Young people have the opportunity to educate themselves there, and it is useful in this respect. But four-fifths of all professors are terribly incompetent, and their missionary spirit, if not addressed, will suck everything and everyone into its mediocrity. The Academy should teach, but we should not allow it to influence art exhibitions, commissions, and artists who do not belong to it, in Düsseldorf, etc., because everything it touches rots.’151

Schadow’s death in January 1850 not only failed to put an end to the conflicts and tensions at the Academy but even intensified them, especially from 1853, when a major conflict arose in connection with the need to appoint a new head of the Academy. Disputes, quarrels, consultations, and complications continued until 1875 when Friedrich Hitzig was named director. In the meantime, Raczyński was also mentioned as a possible candidate for the post. In reply to Duchess Augusta’s inquiry about the state of the Academy, Alexander von Humboldt wrote in a letter in the autumn of 1858: ‘For the renewal of the Academy, since no expert of world-renown may be found, an interesting solution would perhaps be to form a commission, Schrader, Magnus, old Herbig or Richter [they are all without exception Academy professors]? Artists fear Count Raczyński even more than Olfers. I am not afraid of the impression these words make.’152 Was Raczyński interested in taking over the Academy? Perhaps. Years earlier, he had written in his journal: ‘I would be willing to give up my diplomatic career only if I were offered a directorial position at the Royal Museum.’153 Thus, a prominent position in the state administration related to art management would have satisfied Raczyński’s ambitions. Considering his critical remarks about the professors at the Academy, however, it comes as no surprise that artists deeply disliked Raczyński’s candidacy.


Letter from Athanasius to Emil Löwenthal dated 22 November 1868; LV, vol. 25: Löwenthal, MNP, MNPA 1414/25, p. 26.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 3–42.


For more on Raczyński’s concept of art see: Helmut Börsch-Supan, „Die ‚Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst‘ von Athanasius Graf Raczyński;“ Anna Dobrzycka, “Atanazy Raczyński,” in Myśl o sztuce; Zofia Ostrowska-Kębłowska, “Galeria Atanazego Raczyńskiego. Na marginesie wystawy w Muzeum Narodowym w Poznaniu,” Studia Muzealne XIV (1984): 13–28, esp. 16–20; Frank Büttner, „Athanasius Graf Raczyński als Apologet der Kunst seiner Zeit,“ 51–55; Anna Lewicka-Morawska, Między klasycznością a tradycjonalizmem. Narodziny nowoczesnej kultury artystycznej a malarstwo polskie końca XVIII I początków XIX wieku (Warszawa: Neriton, 2005), 202–206 (which however contains numerous inaccuracies); Uta Kaiser, Sammler, Kenner, Kunstschriftsteller, 261–276.


Henrik Karge, „Zwischen Naturwissenschaft und Kulturgeschichte. Die Entfaltung des Systems der Epochenstile im 19. Jahrhundert,“ in Bruno Klein and Bruno Boerner, eds., Stilfragen zur Kunst des Mittelalters. Eine Einführung (Berlin: Reimer, 2006), 39–60; Wolfgang Brückle, „Stil (kunstwissenschaftlich),“ in Karlheinz Barck, Martin Fontius, Dieter Schlendstedt, Burkhart Seinwachs, Friedrich Wolfzettel, eds., Ästhetische Grundbegriffe. Studienausgabe, vol. 5, 681–686.


DIARY, 1 January 1836.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 339.


On Raczyński’s concept of style see: Frank Büttner, „Athanasius Graf Raczyński als Apologet der Kunst seiner Zeit,“ 53–54.


DIARY, 18 December 1844.


In expressing such an opinion, Raczyński places himself on the side of a rather broad criticism at that time of ‘apparent knowledge,’ i.e. a pretence to knowledge in art matters based on pride, empty erudition and ignorance. A testimony of this phenomenon is Johann Hermann Detmold’s satire Einleitung zur Kunstkennerschaft oder Kunst in drei Stunden ein Kenner zu werden, published in 1834 and reissued in 1845 (Johann Hermann Detmold, Einleitung zur Kunstkennerschaft oder Kunst in drei Stunden ein Kenner zu werden. Ein Versuch bei Gelegenheit der zweiten Kunstausstellung herausgegeben (Hannover 1834)). It is stylized as a guide of sorts and contains, in addition to a general introduction of 58 ready-made ‘academics,’ formulas to be uttered by ‘experts’ in relation to a work of art. Criticism of false knowledge was also expressed by Wilhelm Schadow, a close friend of Raczyński (Wilhelm von Schadow, Der moderne Vasari. Erinnerungen aus dem Künstlerleben. Novelle (Berlin: Hertz, 1854), 120–121).


Frank Büttner, „Athanasius Graf Raczyński als Apologet der Kunst seiner Zeit,“ 53–54.


Zofia Ostrowska-Kębłowska, “Galeria Atanazego Raczyńskiego,” 17.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 145. In volume one of History of Modern German Art Raczyński published as an annex two treatises by Schadow: ‘Thoughts on the Consistent Education of the Painter’ (pp. 319–330) and ‘On the True Spirit of Judging Art’ (pp. 331–334). See also: Helmut Börsch-Supan, „Die ‚Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst‘ von Athanasius Graf Raczyński,“ 19.


On the reception of Batteux’s thought in Germany see: Irmela von der Lühe, Natur und Nachahmung: Untersuchungen zur Batteux-Rezeption in Deutschland (Bonn: Bouvier- Verlag, 1979).


Charles Batteux, Les beaux arts reduits à un même principe (Paris: Durand, 1746), 78–79, 89, 92. Citations after the English edition: Charles Batteux, The Fine Arts Reduced to a Single Principle, translated by an introduction and notes by James O. Young (Oxford: University Press 2015).


See: Christa Steinle, „Die Rückkehr der Religiösen. Nazarenismus zwischen Romantik und Rationalismus,“ in Max Hollein and Christa Steinle, eds., Religion, Macht, Kunst. Die Nazarener, exh. cat. (Köln: König, 2005), 15–35, esp. 21–26.


On Raczyński’s views on contemporary German art see: Helmut Börsch-Supan, „Die ‚Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst‘ von Athanasius Graf Raczyński;“ Frank Büttner, „Athanasius Graf Raczyński als Apologet der Kunst seiner Zeit;“ Bertsch Markus, „Zur Historisierung und Musealisierung der Gegenwart. Athanasius Graf Raczyński als Sammler, Mäzen und Kritiker zeitgenössischer Kunst,“ in Adam S. Labuda, Michał Mencfel, and Wojciech Suchocki, eds., Edward i Atanazy Raczyńscy. Dzieła – osobowości – wybory – epoka, 221–241; Uta Kaiser, „Die ‚Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst‘ des Athanasius Graf Raczyński (1788–1874).“


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 13.


Franz Pforr was born in the same year as Raczyński (1788), Friedrich Overbeck was one year younger.


They established it together with Konrad Hottinger, Joseph Sutter, Ludwig Vogel, and Joseph Wintergast. On the Nazarenes see: Keith Andrews, The Nazarens. A Brotherhood of German Painters in Rom (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964); Klaus Gallwitz, ed., Die Nazarener in Rom. Ein deutscher Künstlerbund der Romantik, exh. cat. (München: Prestel, 1981); Mitchell Benjamin Frank, German Romantic Painting Redefined; Norbert Suhr and Nico Kirchberger, eds., Die Nazarener – Vom Tiber an den Rhein. Drei Malerschulen des 19. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat. (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2012); Cordula Grewe, The Nazarenes, Romantic Avant-Garde and the Art of the Concept (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015).


For more on the subject see studies by Cordula Grewe: “Re-Enchantment as Artistic Practice: Strategies of Emulation in German Romantic Art and Theory,” New German Critique No. 95 (Winter 2005): 36–71; „Die Geburt der Natur aus dem Geiste Dürers,“ in Markus Bertsch and Reinhard Wegner, eds., Landschaft am „Scheidepunkt,“ 331–353.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 2, 306.


On the German art academies in the nineteenth century see: Ekkehard Mai, Die deutschen Kunstakademien im 19. Jahrhundert. Künstlerausbildung zwischen Tradition und Avantgarde (Köln-Weimar-Wien: Böhlau, 2010).


Ekkehard Mai, Die deutschen Kunstakademien im 19. Jahrhundert, 121–142.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 107.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 2, 203.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 41.


DIARY, 26 March 1835.


Letter to Juan Donoso Cortés dated 29 December 1849; cited in: Deux diplomates le comte Raczynski et Donoso Cortès, 28–30.


Letter from Adam Mickiewicz to Wojciech Stattler dated May 1837; cited in: Adam Mickiewicz, Dzieła, vol. 15, 183.


On the reception of the art of Romantic painters, especially Nazarene painters, in German art history, criticism and art-related journalism in the 19th century, see the insightful and well-documented study by Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik. Zur Rezeption der „neudeutschen Malerei“ 1817–1906 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 2012).


Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik, 71–79.


See in particular in an article written jointly with Johann Heinrich Meyer titled ‘Neudeutsche religiös-patriotische Kunst,’ published in the second issue of the Weimar journal Über Kunst und Alterthum in 1817. See: Ulrike Krenzlin, „Zu einigen Problemen nazarenischer Kunst. Goethe und die nazarenische Kunst,“ Städel-Jahrbuch, Neue Folge 7 (1979): 231–250; Frank Büttner, „Der Streit um die ,Neudeutsche, religiös-patriotische Kunst,‘“ Aurora. Jahrbuch der Eichendorff-Gesellschaft 43 (1983): 55–76.


Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik, 93.


See ‘Journal de mon excursion sur le Rhin entre le 26 Août et le 3 Septembre [1847],’ contained in Raczyński’s DIARY.


Raczyński visited the Apollinariskirche twice, first in 1847, when the frescoes were not yet finished, then in 1854 after the works had been completed (the paintings were made between 1843 and 1853). For more on the frescoes see: Bettina Baumgärtel, „National, regional und transregional. Die Monumentalmalerei der Düsseldorfer Malerschule – Apollinariskirche und Schloss Heltorf,“ in Bettina Baumgärtel, ed., Die Düsseldorfer Malerschule und ihre internationale Ausstrahlung 1819–1918, vol. 1 (Petersberg: Imhof, 2011), 114–139; Irene Haberland, „Der Einfluss der Düsseldorfer Nazarener in Rheinland-Pfalz,“ in Norbert Suhr and Nico Kirchberger, eds., Die Nazarener – Vom Tiber an den Rhein. Drei Malerschulen des 19. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat. (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2012), 47–63, esp. 47–52.


DIARY, September 1858.


Mitchell Benjamin Frank, German Romantic Painting Redefined, 143–176; Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik, 475–661.


Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik, 494.


Cordula Grewe, “Historicism and the Symbolic Imagination in Nazarene Art,” The Art Bulletin 79 (2007): 82–107, quotation p. 83.


Ausstellung deutscher Kunst aus der Zeit von 1775–1875 in der Königlichen Nationalgallerie Berlin 1906, herausgegeben vom Vorstand der deutschen Jahrhundertausstellung, vol. 1–2 (München: Bruckmann, 1906). For more on the exhibition, see in particular: Sabine Beneke, Im Blick der Moderne. Die „Jahrhundertausstellung deutscher Kunst (1775–1875)“ in der Berliner Nationalgalerie 1906 (Berlin: Bostelmann und Siebenhaar, 1999); also: Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik, 604–619.


An attempt at a (subsequent) revision has been made by German and European art history since the 1970s, with an intensification of research on artistic phenomena marginalized by modern currents in art, including historical painting and the art of the Nazarenes. A recent spectacular but also critical attempt to present a synthetic picture of nineteenth-century German art was a major exhibition held in 2013 at the Louvre in Paris, titled De l’Allemagne. De Friedrich à Beckmann. It included one painting from Raczyński’s collection, Friedrich Overbeck’s The Marriage of the Virgin. See: Sébastien Allard and Danièle Cohn, eds., De l’Allemagne. De Friedrich á Beckmann, exh. cat. (Paris: Hazan, 2013).


Letter from Elizabeth Rigby to John Murray (III) dated 19 July 1845; cited in: Elizabeth Eastlake, The Letters of Elizabeth Rigby, Lady Eastlake, edited by Julie Sheldon (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009), 97.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 41. In fact, it is very difficult to answer the question to what extent Raczyński managed to achieve this goal. The book met with critical interest, but the actual scope of its impact was probably quite limited. The features that made it exceptional, such as the incredible exclusivity of the edition, were at the same time obstacles to its popularisation. As we know from Raczyński himself, the book sold poorly – it was simply too expensive. The first volume was a luxury edition, printed on so-called Chinese paper and supplemented with large-format engravings, cost the considerable sum of 100 francs in Paris. One could say this about the book: many knew about Raczyński’s work, but few had ever obtained a copy of it and had the chance to read it thoroughly. The problems Raczyński experienced in trying to sell the book are illustrated well by his correspondence with the Leipzig bookseller Rudolf Weigel from 1840–1841; BR, Poznań, 2729/II, pp. 22–40.


Elizabeth Rigby, “Modern German Painting,” The Quarterly Review LXXVII (1846): 323–348. (French Edition: “La peinture en Allemagne,” Revue Britannique. Choix d’articles extraits des meilleurs écrits périodiques de la Grande-Bretagne, Sixième serie, Tome troisième (Mai 1846): 38–79).


DIARY, 3 January 1847.


See e.g.: Zeitung für die elegante Welt, no. 141, den 22 Julius 1837, 364; Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände, no. 187, Montag, den 7. August 1837; Kunst-Blatt, no. 36, Donnerstag, den 2. Mai 1839, 144, and no. 37, Dienstag, den 7. Mai 1837, 145–148; Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 196. Stück, den 9. December 1837, 1958–1960; Ost und West. Blätter für Kunst, Literatur und geselliges Leben, no. 22, Samstag, den 14. März 1840, 103; Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, no. 50, Sonnabend, 19. Februar 1842, 197–199 and no. 51, Sonntag, 20 Februar 1842, 201–202.


See e.g.: Journal des artistes. Revue pittoresque consacré aux artistes et aux gens du monde, XIe Année, vol. 1, no. 1, 1er Janvier 1837, 16; Bulletin Littéraire et scientifique, 5e Année, no. 2, Février 1837, 64; Journal de débats politiques et littéraires, mardi, 19 decembre 1837, 3; Revue Britannique. Choix d’articles extraits des meilleurs écrits périodiques de la Grande-Bretagne, Sixième serie, Tome troisième, Mai 1846, 38–79; The Athenaeum. Journal of English and Foreign Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts, no. 464, September 17, 1836, 675–676; Foreign Quarterly Review, vol. 18, October 1836 and January 1837, 109–118, and vol. 25, April and July 1840, 406–419; The Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences etc., Saturday, July 1, 1837, 419; London Quarterly Review, vol. 61, January to June, 1838, 85–86; L’Artiste. Journal de littérature et des beaux arts, 2nd series, vol. 6, 1840, 317–319; The Monthly Review, September to December inclusive, 1844, vol. 3, 74–90; North American Review, vol. 55, 1842, 426–462; The New York Review, vol. 10, no. 20, April 1842, 448–474; Rozmaitości, no. 47, 25 November 1837, 375.


For more on this subject, see in particular: Uta Kaiser, Sammler, Kenner, Kunstschriftsteller, 123–259.


On the subject of Geschichte see above all: Helmut Börsch-Supan, „Die ‚Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst‘ von Athanasius Graf Raczyński.“ Also: Markus Bertsch, „Zur Historisierung und Musealisierung der Gegenwart,“ 224–230; Uta Kaiser, „Die ‚Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst‘ des Athanasius Graf Raczyński (1788–1874).“ A few years before the publication of Raczyński’s work (in 1833), the Paris-based magazine L’Europe littéraire published an essay by the poet and art critic Karl Immermann from Düsseldorf titled ‘De la painture en Allemagne au XIXe siècle,’ which was also an attempt to present as complete a panorama of contemporary German painting as possible. Its reception, however, was quite limited and it did not play a major role in the discussion on new German art, in which Raczyński’s book was a very important voice (Karl Immermann, „De la painture en Allemagne au XIX siècle,“ Immermann-Jahrbuch. Beiträge zur Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte zwischen 1815 und 1840 3 (2002): 9–33. For more on Immermann’s article see: Henrik Karge, „Karl Immermanns Zeitgeschichte der deutschen Malerei,“ Immermann-Jahrbuch. Beiträge zur Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte zwischen 1815 und 1840 3 (2002): 34–50).


The title pages of Raczyński’s work have been thoroughly analysed. On this subject see: Werner Busch, Die notwendige Arabeske. Wirklichkeitsaneignung und Stilisierung in der deutschen Kunst des 19. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1985), 75–89; Stefan Trinks, „Die Geschichtskonstruktionen in den Illustrationen zu Athanasius von Raczyńskis ‚Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst;‘ Menzel als Kritiker und Historiker der Kunst,“ in Robert Born, Adam S. Labuda, and Beate Störtkuhl, Visuelle Erinnerungskulturen und Geschichtskonstruktionen in Deutschland und Polen 1800 bis 1939: Beiträge der 11. Tagung der Arbeitskrieses deutscher und polnischer Kunsthistoriker und Denkmalpfleger in Berlin, 30. September–1. Oktober 2004 (Warszawa: Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 2006), 161–182; Werner Busch and Petra Maisak, eds., Verwandlung der Welt. Die romantische Arabeske, exh. cat. (Petersberg: Imhof, 2013), 325–327.


Bulletin Littéraire et scientifique, 5e Année, No. 2, Février 1837, p. 64.


The main inspiration for Raczyński in arranging the material and composing the book was undoubtedly Luigi Lanzi’s well known and widely recited topographic and biographical history of Italian painting titled Storia pittorica della Italia, first published in 1792, later issued in three volumes in 1795/1796, and subsequently reissued and expanded several times. It was translated into German by Adolf Wagner; subsequent volumes were published in Leipzig from 1830 under the title Geschichte der Malerei in Italien vom Wiederaufleben der Kunst bis Ende des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts. For more on Lanzi’s publications see: Gabriele Bickendorf, „Luigi Lanzis ‚Storia pittorica della Italia‘ und das Entstehen der historisch-kritischen Kunstgeschichtsschreibung,“ Jahrbuch des Zentralinstituts für Kunstgeschichte II (1986): 231–272.


A good picture of the obstacles and complications involved in making the illustrations for the book is provided by Raczyński’s extensive correspondence with the Düsseldorf painter Ferdinand Theodor Hildebrandt. For example, in his letter of 25 December 1835, Raczyński wrote: ‘Most artists would like me to yield to each of their opinions in terms of time, form, view, and, essentially everything I do, and since I am dealing with hundreds [of artists], difficulties arise from this, which I am not always able to overcome. If it weren’t for Mr and Mrs Stilke in Dusseldorf and Kaulbach and Thäter in Munich, I would have to give up everything. And still in my present state, I am not very happy with the result because I have had to give up many things that would have made the work fuller and more interesting.’ See: LV, vol. 19: Ferdinand Theodor Hildebrandt, MNP, MNPA 1414/19, p. 9.


Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Dzienniki 1835–1836, do druku przygotowała i przypisami opatrzyła Izabella Rusinowa (Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2005), 281.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 1, 119–151. This section is dominated by an apologetic text written by Otto Friedrich, titled Ausstellung der Königlichen Akademie der Künste. Schadowsche Schule. 1838.


Ekkehard Mai, Die deutschen Kunstakademien im 19. Jahrhundert, 129.


Elke von Radziewsky, Kunstkritik im Vormärz. Dargestellt am Beispiel der Düsseldorfer Malerschule (Bochum: Brockmeyer, 1983), 46–47.


Friedrich von Uechtritz, Blicke in das Düsseldorfer Kunst- und Künstlerleben, vol. 1 (Düsseldorf: I.H.C. Schreiner, 1839), 52.


Elizabeth Rigby, “Modern German Painting,” 343–344.


It is not known under what circumstances Raczyński made contact with Eastlake, who was five years younger in age. It is possible that he first came into contact with Eastlake in the 1820s, during one of his stays in Rome, where the English painter lived with short breaks for several years since 1816. This is all the more likely because, thanks to his friendship with Karl Bunsen, secretary and later head of the Prussian delegation to the apostolic capital, Eastlake had close ties to German culture and art. He also studied German, maintained contacts with the colony of German artists working in Rome, made the acquaintance of numerous German art lovers and connoisseurs visiting the Eternal City, including August Kestner, John David Passavant, and probably also Karl Friedrich von Rumohr. In 1828, while travelling about Germany, he also met Gustav Waagen, with whom he later developed a close and long-standing friendship. In this way, Eastlake established relations with leading representatives of German artistic and scientific life; English critics even accused him of being overly attached to German culture. Early on he may have also counted Raczyński among his friends. If not, one of their common friends, such as Rumohr or Waagen, may have played a role as an intermediary. In any case, in the late 1830s, Raczyński and Eastlake made contact via correspondence; they met in person in London in 1842 at the latest. For more on Eastlake see: Susanna Avery-Quash and Julie Sheldon, Art for the Nation. The Eastlakes and the Victorian Art World (London: National Gallery, 2011).


NAL V&A, London, MSL/1922/416: Charles and Elizabeth Eastlake: Correspondence, 1823–1882.


An example is J. Beavington Atkinson’s The Schools of Modern Art in Germany (London 1880), where Raczyński’s book – elsewhere described by Atkinson as a ‘standard work’ (The Portfolio. An Artistic Periodical, vol. 9, 1878, p. 137) – is mentioned first among a list of reference works, and then referred to repeatedly in this role.


See on this subject: Uta Kaiser, Sammler, Kenner, Kunstschriftsteller, 180–217.


See on this subject: France Nerlich, „Ein kühner Blick. Athanasius Raczyński und die französische Kunst seiner Zeit,“ in Adam S. Labuda, Michał Mencfel, and Wojciech Suchocki, eds., Edward i Atanazy Raczyńscy. Dzieła – osobowości – wybory – epoka, 263–276, esp. 265–268.


See: Georg Kauffmann, Die Entstehung der Kunstgeschichte im 19. Jahrhundert (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1993), 37–39; Paul Raabe, „Einige Anmerkungen über Franz Kuglers Anteil an der Geschichte der Buchillustration,“ Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 57, H. 3 (1994): 474–479; Katharina Krause, Klaus Niehr, and Eva-Maria Hanebutt-Benz, eds., Bilderlust und Lesefrüchte. Das illustrierte Kunstbuch von 1750 bis 1920, exh. cat. (Leipzig: Seemann, 2005). Improvements in the means for illustrating books was greatly facilitated by the development of graphic techniques developed or advanced in the late eighteenth century, including lithography, invented by Alois Senefelder, and woodcut, improved by Thomas Bewick.


On the illustrations to Histoire de l’Art see: Daniela Mondini, Mittelalter im Bild. Séroux d’Agincourt und die Kunsthistoriographie um 1800 (Zürich: Zurich InterPublishing, 2005), 233–298. Also: Susanne Müller-Bechtel, Die Zeichnung als Forschungsinstrument. Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle (1819–1897) und seine Zeichnungen zur Wandmalerei in Italien von 1550 (München: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2009), 203–206.


Heinrich Dilly, „Kunsthistorische Studien, ‚weniger mit der Schreibfeder als mit dem Zeichenstifte gemacht.‘ Franz Kuglers Zeichenkunst,“ in Michel Espagne, Bénédicte Savoy, and Céline Trautmann-Waller, eds., Franz Theodor Kugler. Deutscher Kunsthistoriker und Berliner Dichter (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2010), 45–68. esp. 56–59. See also Paul Raabe, „Einige Anmerkungen über Franz Kuglers Anteil an der Geschichte der Buchillustration,“ 474–479.


Raczyński’s book was also missing from the extensive catalogue accompanying an exhibition of illustrated books on art written between 1750 and 1920, organised in 2005 at the Gutenberg-Museum in Mainz (Katharina Krause, Klaus Niehr, and Eva-Maria Hanebutt- Benz, eds., Bilderlust und Lesefrüchte).


Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, mardi, 19 decembre 1837, 3.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal. Lettres adressées à la Société artistique et scientifique de Berlin, et accompagnées de documens (Paris: J. Renouard, 1846). For more on Les arts … see: Sylvie Deswarte-Rosa, “Athanase Raczynski au Portugal,” 31–53; Ewa Łukaszyk, “Atanazy Raczyński, historiógrafo de arte portuguesa,” Estudios Hispánicos XI: España en Europa. Historia, contactos, viajes (2003): 77–90.


The cursory nature of the editing of the letters intended for the book is indicated by their form. The actual degree of editorial work could only be properly assessed by comparing the correspondence addressed to Wissenschaftlicher Kunstverein with the relevant parts of the book. This is, however, proved impossible, as Raczyński’s original letters could not be found.


I am quoting here from a copy in Raczyński’s DIARY (entry dated 2 May 1846).


Carl Justi, „Die portugiesische Malerei des XVI Jahrhunderts,“ Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 9, H. 3 and 4 (1888): 137–159 and 227–238, quotation 141.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 119.


Athanasius Raczyński, Dictionnaire historico-artistique du Portugal pour faire suite à l’ouvrage ayant pour titre: Les arts en Portugal (Paris: J. Renouard, 1847).


When Raczyński was questioned near the end of his life by Portuguese art enthusiast and author Joachim de Vasconcelos about this third volume, he was reported to have said that it would never be written. The Count was weary and discouraged by the poor reception of the first two parts of the trilogy and by criticism and even threats that continued to reach him from Portugal long after Les arts en Portugal had been published. It is very difficult to assess the credibility of this peculiar account; in any case, nowhere else is any mention made of Raczyński being the target of resentments and threats provoked by the publication of his history of Portuguese art; Joaquim de Vasconcellos, Conde de Raczynski (Athanasius), 19–20.


In a letter to Friedrich Savigny dated 12 August 1845. Raczyński explained: ‘The first part of my work on Portuguese art is ready and will be printed in Paris in June. This part consists exclusively of letters and explanatory notes. The second part will be a dictionary, similar to Bermudez’s book, and the third part will be a historical presentation of art in Portugal with lithographic illustrations.’ (GStA, Berlin, VI. HA Nl K.F. v. Savigny, no. 208). Raczyński wrote in a similar tone at the end of Les arts en Portugal: ‘Not everything has been clarified yet, but I believe that I have gathered materials on the basis of which I will be able in the résumé [in the third volume] to overcome the chaos, tone down to a realistic level the exaggerated and delusive assessments that have entered public opinion, establish the facts, pay homage to truth, show the importance of Portuguese art under Manuel I and John III, and present a general picture of the arts in this country.;’ Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 450, also: 76–77.


Letter to an unknown addressee dated 30 March 1844; LV, vol. 47c, MNPA-1414–47c, pp. 2146–2049.


‘Statuten des wissenschaftlichen Kunstvereins in Berlin,’ Berliner Kunstblatt, Siebentes Heft, Juli 1828, 199–201.


Berliner Kunstblatt, Erstes Heft, Januar 1828, 36.


Raczyński in a letter to Peter Cornelius dated 18 August 1842 in: LV, vol. 14: Peter Cornelius, MNP, MNPA 1414/14, p. 16.


It seems unlikely that all the letters received from Raczyński were subjects of discussion among Kunstverein members. However, it is apparent that at least some evening meetings, namely on 15 June 1843 and on 15 April 1844, were devoted to them. During the first meeting, the General Director of Berlin’s museums, Ignaz von Olfers, read Raczyński’s account devoted to Grão-Vasco (Kunstblatt, No. 59, Dienstag, den 25. Juli 1843, 248), while at the second meeting Friedrich Förster presented the plan sent by Raczyński for his book on Portuguese art and an excerpt from Francisco de Hollanda’s manuscript (Allgemeines Organ für die Interessen des Kunst- und Landkartenhandels, No. 17, 22. April 1844, 67).


José-Augusto França, A arte em Portugal no século XIX. Volume I, Primer aparte (1780–1835) e Segunta parte (1835–1880) (Lisboa: Livraria Bertrand, 1966), 390–392; Ewa Łukaszyk, “Atanazy Raczyński, historiógrafo de arte portuguesa,” 85–86.


James Murphy, Travels in Portugal through the provinces of Entre-Douro and Minho, Beira, Estremadura and Alem-Tejo, in the years 1789 and 1790, illustrated with twenty-four plates of that Kingdom (London: A. Strahan, T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1795).


José da Cunha Taborda. Regas da arte da pintura (Lisboa: Impr. Regia, 1815); Cirillo Volkmar Machado, Collecção de Memórias, relatias a’s vidas dos pintores, e escultores, architetos, e gravadores portuguezes (Lisboa: Victorino Rodrigues da Silva, 1823).


Francisco de São Luis, “Memória Histórica sobre as Obras do Real Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitória, chamado vulgarmente da Batalha,” Historia e Memorias da Academia Real das Sciencias de Lisboa X, parte I (1827): 163–232; António de Castro e Sousa, Descriçao do Real Mosteiro de Belém, com a notícia da sua fundação (Lisboa: A.S. Coelho, 1837); Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Notícia Histórica e Descritiva do Mosteiro de Bélem (Lisboa: Typ. da Sociedade Propagadora dos Conhecimentos Uteis, 1842).


Almeida Garrett, O Retrato de Vénus: poemas (Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade, 1821); Francisco de São Luis, Lista de alguns artistas portugueses coligida de escritos e documentos no decurso das suas leituras em Ponte de Lima no ano de 1825 e em Lisboa no ano de 1839 (Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, 1839).


José-Augusto França, A arte em Portugal no século XIX, 392–396.


José-Augusto França, “Historia de Arte Portuguesa até ao Conde de Raczynski,” in A historiografia portuguesa anterior a Herculano. Colóquio. Programa e sumário das comunicaçõeos (Lisboa: Academia Portuguesa da História, 1977).


See: Sylvie Deswarte-Rosa, “Athanase Raczynski au Portugal,” 42–45. On Hollanda’s treatise see Charles Hope’s introductory essay in: Francisco de Hollanda, On antique painting, translated by Alice Sedgwick Wohl, introductory essays by Joaquim Oliveira Caetano and Charles Hope, notes by Hellmut Wohl (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013).


Sylvie Deswarte-Rosa, “Athanase Raczynski au Portugal,” 33–42.


Raczyński included a transcription of the speech in Les arts en Portugal, but tactfully left out the fragments concerning him. The speech was published as an independent text in 1844: Francisco de Sousa Loureiro, Discurso pronunciado pelo direktor da Academia das Bellas-Artes Francisco de Sousa Loureiro. Na sessão publica triennale de 29 de Dezembro de 1843 (Lisboa: Typ. Da Gazeta dos Tribunaes, 1844), 26–28.


“Visita artistica,” Periodico dos Pobres no Porto, Numero 90, Sexta feira 26 de Julho 1844 and Segunda feira 5 de Augosto 1844; “Jornada artistica,” Diario do Governo, Numero 215, quara feira 11 de Setembro.


The spectrum of issues raised in Les arts en Portugal is very wide, and includes both the major themes in Portuguese art, such as early modern painting and the architecture produced during the reign of King Manuel I, but also issues that were less known, not to say niche, such as the terracotta sculpture. Raczyński also writes about the painter and art theoretician Francisco de Hollanda, the Lisbon Academy of Art and its exhibitions, the most important art collections in the country, miniature painting, the pillories standing in Portuguese cities, the famous glazed polychrome tiles called azulejos, etc.; finally, the last letter is devoted to Spanish art.


J.C. Robinson, “The Early Portuguese School of Painting, with Notes on the Pictures at Viseu and Comibra Traditionally Ascribed to Grand Vasco,” Fine Arts Quarterly Review 2 (October 1866): 375–400, esp. 15.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 117.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 132–137.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 175.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 298.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 297.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 365.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 374.


Athanasius Raczyński, Les arts en Portugal, 366.


Carl Justi, „Die portugiesische Malerei des XVI Jahrhunderts,“ 140.


For research after Raczyński on the person and work of Vasco Fernandes see: Luís Reis Santos, Vasco Fernandes e os pintores de Viseu do século XVI (Lisboa: Edição do autor, 1946); Dalila Rodrigues, “Oficinas de Viseu e processos artísticos: Grão Vasco e Gaspar Vaz,” in José Alberto Seabra Carvalho, ed., Primitovos Portugueses 1450–1550. O Século de Nono Gonçalves, exh. cat. (Lisboa: Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, 2011), 188–195, esp. 191–193.


See: Hans Müller, Wilhelm Kaulbach, 287–339.


Josefa Dürck-Kaulbach, Erinnerungen an Wilhelm von Kaulbach, 30–31.


Josefa Dürck-Kaulbach, Erinnerungen an Wilhelm von Kaulbach, 44.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 2, 269–270.


See in particular the documents collected in: LV, vol. 22: Wilhelm Kaulbach, MNP, MNPA 1414/22, and also his correspondence with George Ticknor, RSCL, Hanover, NH, call no. 837320.


The history of the painting’s creation is presented in detail by Hans Müller; see: Hans Müller, Wilhelm Kaulbach, 306–317.


Raczyński in a letter to George Ticknor dated 20 May 1837, RSCL, Hanover, NH, call no. 837320.


Hans Müller, Wilhelm Kaulbach, 301.


Letter from Adelheid Carolath-Beuthen to Athanasius from December 1844; a copy is contained in DIARY, under the entry for 6 January 1845.


In his letters to Raczyński, Kaulbach repeatedly stressed the importance of his meeting with Raczyński. For example, in his correspondence of 18 May 1840, he wrote in an exalted tone: ‘You were the first such great gentleman to take seriously my aspirations and struggles in the field of art. With a keen eye you fathomed what I am capable of in art. Thanks to your wonderful order, I was able to take the path in art that I had dreamt of taking for years,’ LV, vol. 22: Wilhelm Kaulbach, MNP, MNPA 1414/22, pp. 137–139.


See letter from Josephine Kaulbach to Raczyński from late July 1835 in: LV, Wilhelm Kaulbach, MNP, MNPA 1414/22, p. 2. On the subject of the artist’s trips to Italy see: Hans Müller, Wilhelm Kaulbach, 340–383.


Hans Müller, Wilhelm Kaulbach, 303.


See letter from Athanasius to Wilhelm Kaulbach dated 10 June 1840 in: LV, Wilhelm Kaulbach, MNP, MNPA 1414/22, pp. 141–142. Also: letter from Raczyński to Charles Eastlake dated 10 June 1840 in: NAL V&A, London, call no. MSL/1922/416.


On Kaulbach’s paintings see: Wilhelm Stoewer, Wilhelm von Kaulbachs Bilderkreis der Weltgeschichte im Treppenhause des Berliner Neuen Museums. Erläuternde Betrachtungen (Berlin: Kunstverlag St. Lukas, 1906); Hans Ebert, „Über die Entstehung, Bewertung und Zerstörung der Wandgemälde Wilhelm von Kaulbachs im Treppenhaus des Neuen Museum zu Berlin. Ein Dokumentarbericht,“ Forschungen und Berichte. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin 26 (1987): 177–204; Annemarie Menke-Schwinghammer, Weltgeschichte als ,Nationalepos‘ Wilhelm von Kaulbachs kulturhistorischer Zyklus im Treppenhaus des Neuen Museums in Berlin (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1994).


Hans Ebert, „Über die Entstehung, Bewertung und Zerstörung der Wandgemälde Wilhelm von Kaulbachs,“ 181.


Annemarie Menke-Schwinghammer, Weltgeschichte als ,Nationalepos,‘ 168–169.


Josefa Dürck-Kaulbach, Erinnerungen an Wilhelm von Kaulbach, 351.


Alexander von Humboldt und das Preußische Königshaus. Briefe aus den Jahren 1835–1857, herausgegeben und erläutert von Conrad Müller (Leipzig: Koehler, 1928), 130–131.


Letter from Raczyński to Kaulbach, dated 11 October 1841 in: LV, Wilhelm Kaulbach, MNP, MNPA 1414/22, pp. 143–144.


On the subject of Kaulbach’s frescos see: Frank Büttner, „Herrscherlob und Satire. Wilhelm von Kaulbachs Zyklus zur Geschichte der Kunst unter Ludwig I,“ in Herbert W. Rott and Joachim Kaak, eds., Ludwig I. und die Neue Pinakothek (Köln: DuMont, 2003), 83–122. Also: Werner Busch, Die notwendige Arabeske, 114–125.


Kunstblatt, No. 91, Dienstag, den 12. November 1844, 377–378.


For more on the decoration of the new Westminster Palace see: T.R.S. Boase, “The Decoration of the New Palace of Westminster, 1841–1863,” Journal of the Warburg & Courtauld Institutes 17, No. 3–4 (1954): 319–354. On the procedures employed in entrusting German painters to produce it: William Vaughan, German Romanticism and English Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979), 54–56.


Letter from Raczyński to Charles Eastlake dated 6 December 1841 in: NAL V&A, London, call no. MSL/1922/416.


See: letter from Raczyński to Peter Cornelius dated 18 August 1842 in: LV, vol. 14: Peter Cornelius, MNP, MNPA 1414/14, p. 16.


Allgemeines Organ für die Interessen des Kunst- und Landkartenhandels, no. 48, 26. November 1842, 190.


Heinrich Stieglitz, Gruß an Berlin. Ein Zukunftstraum (Leipzig: F.U. Brockhaus, 1838), 27.


Letter from Peter Cornelius to Raczyński dated 13 May 1840 in: LV, vol. 14: Peter Cornelius, p. 6.


Raczyński’s complicated relationship with Kaulbach has already shown that fulfilling these ‘duties’ was not an easy task. This is also evidenced by the following entry from 1842 in his DIARY: ‘Experience shows me more and more each day that you should not place orders with artists. I fear that his health will not allow Cornelius to finish my painting, and this will cause many difficulties, because it has already been paid for in part. Steinle demanded a ridiculously large sum of money for a small picture he had made for me. Jordan wrote to me rudely, though I gave him no cause for this. Paul Delaroche is making something different for me than what I’d ordered, but I will have to accept the painting to avoid an argument.’ DIARY, 7 April 1842.


For more on this subject, see in particular, including its extensive bibliography: Hannelore Putz, Für Königtum und Kunst: Die Kunstförderung König Ludwigs I. von Bayern, Schriftenreihe zur Bayerischen Landesgeschichte 164 (München: C.H. Beck, 2013).


See: Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik, 267–279.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 2, 99–106. In 1868, a quarter of a century later, Raczyński’s unflagging admiration for Ludwig I of Bavaria was expressed in his desire to display a statue of the monarch next to the statues of seven outstanding German artists on the facade of the count’s palace in Berlin. This idea was ultimately abandoned by Raczyński as politically problematic: however, it seemed inappropriate for him to place a statue – made of burnt clay – of a recently deceased foreign ruler on a private residence in the Prussian capital. Ludwig’s place in the pantheon of great figures in contemporary German art displayed on the palace’s facade was taken by the painter Asmus Carstens. See the documents contained in: LV, vol. 45: Statuen an meinem Hause, MNP, MNPA 1414/45.


Hubert Glaser, „‚Schwung hatte er, wie Keiner!‘ König Ludwig I. von Bayern als Protektor der Künste,“ in Herbert W. Rott and Joachim Kaak, eds., Ludwig I. und die Neue Pinakothek, 11–41; Hannelore Putz, Für Königtum und Kunst, 266–282.


Hannelore Putz, Für Königtum und Kunst, 277–278.


On the Kunstvereine see: Thomas Schmitz, Die deutschen Kunstvereine im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert: ein Beitrag zur Kultur-, Konsum- und Sozialgeschichte der bildenden Kunst im bürgerlichen Zeitalter (Neuried: Ars Una, 2001); Brigit Biedermann, Bürgerliches Mäzenatentum im 19. Jahrhundert. Die Förderung öffentlicher Kunstwerke durch den Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (Petersberg: Imhof, 2001); Christian Scholl, Revisionen der Romantik, 247–257.


Statut für den Verein der Kunstfreunde im Preussischen Staate, Berlin 1829, § 1. The statute was adopted 11 June 1825 and signed by Wilhelm von Humboldt, Peter Beuth, Christian Daniel Rauch, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Johann Christian Jüngken, Karl Wilhelm Wach, Johann Gottfried Schadow, Carl Joseph Begas, and Friebe.


Athanasius Raczyński, Geschichte der neueren deutschen Kunst, vol. 3, 388.


Namensverzeichniss der Mitglieder des Vereins der Kunstfreunde im Preussischen Staate am 10ten Februar 1826, Berlin 1826. Subsequent lists of members were published regularly until 1839.


Museum. Blätter für bildende Kunst, no. 13, den. 28. März 1836, 97.


DIARY, 8 July 1837.


Bulletin archéologique publié par le Comité historique des arts et monumens, Premier volume, 1840–1841, 10.


Beginning in 1859, Raczyński was elected several times as a member of the so-called Beratungskommission, established at the Royal Museums in Berlin. Alongside him there were, among others, architect Friedrich August Stüler, painter Peter von Cornelius, and scholars Karl Schnaase, Gustav Parthey and Heinrich Abeken. See: GStA, Berlin, 1HA Rep. 137, I no. 84: Königliches Museum in Berlin (Altes Museum). Unterhaltung und Organisation der Königlischen Museen in Berlin.


Allgemeines Organ für die Interessen des Kunst- und Landkartenhandels, no. 9, 27 Februar 1841, 37–38; No. 10., 6. März 1841, 41–42; no. 11, 13. März 1841, 45.


Kunstblatt, no. 25, Dienstag den 30. März 1841, 100.


Preussische Staatszeitung, no. 56, den 25. Februar 1841.


See: Leonore Koschnick, „Kugler als Chronist der Kunst und preußischer Kulturpolitiker,“ in Michel Espagne, Bénédicte Savoy, and Céline Trautmann-Waller, eds., Franz Theodor Kugler. Deutscher Kunsthistoriker und Berliner Dichter (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2010), 1–14, esp. 10–14. Also: Ekkehard Mai, Die deutschen Kunstakademien im 19. Jahrhundert, 176–181.


Letter from Raczyński to Wilhelm Kaulbach dated 12 May 1841; a copy is contained in Raczyński’s DIARY. See also: Hans Müller, Wilhelm Kaulbach, 329.


Alexander von Humboldt und das Preußische Königshaus, 328.


DIARY, 27 April 1840.

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